Surboards & Sleighbells: An “Over The Edge” Christmas Outtake

 

In a secluded beachside cottage on Australia’s east coast, it’s Christmas Eve….

~~~~~~~~~

Light from a full moon falls across the bed, casting shadows that dance and move when I wriggle my toes beneath the sheets.

The French doors stand open, leading onto the wide verandah, and I can hear the rumble of the ocean and feel the breeze.  Beside me, Angus is sleeping, his leg tucked over mine, face against my neck so his stubble tickles and stings the faint sunburn on my skin.  I shift slightly, but he doesn’t even stir.  He’s dead to the world, sleeping off a week of late-night teleconferences and last minute meetings – clearing his slate so we can have Christmas and New Year uninterrupted, here, in his new weekender up the coast.  He hasn’t even brought his laptop away with him.  His phone is turned off.  It sits, mute, on the bedside table beside the champagne glasses and his grandfather’s watch.

The wind picks up and the French doors swing a little, doing a gentle back-and-forth.  They creak softly as they move.  I run my fingers gently through Angus’ hair, brushing it back from his face.  I press a soft kiss to his forehead.  It’s hard to see in the dark, but I know he’s caught a bit of the sun today, too. I can feel it in the heat of his skin.

What a difference a year makes.

Last Christmas Eve I was at Dan’s office party, hiding in the stationery cupboard to avoid the drunks while Dan brown-nosed the senior partners.  Angus had been in Chicago.  Alone.  My heart tightens as I think of some of the things he’s told me.  Despite his success and his wealth, this will be the first real family-style Christmas he’s had since he was nine years old. And I’m going to make sure it’s perfect.

I close my eyes and think about tomorrow.  About presents under the tree and the gourmet lunch I have planned. Three courses of chicken and seafood and epicurean salads.  It’ll be a group effort – Jamie Oliver, Margaret Fulton and me.

It’s a pity about dessert, though.  I grimace as I think of the Christmas pudding I lost on our drive up here this morning. Two days I spent making it – soaking the fruit overnight, steaming it for eight hours and marinating it for twelve. Packing it carefully in its own little box for the journey.  But then we stopped at that roadside fruit stand and bought the tray of mangoes and we had to re-arrange everything in the car because the tray wouldn’t fit in the back seat with the suitcases and the guitar and the boxes of decorations and the food hamper.  And somehow, in all the rearranging…

I wonder if there’s a website for emergency Christmas desserts? I can’t be the only person in the world to leave a pudding at a mango stall.  Surely.

I turn onto my side.  Angus shifts and curls around me.  His hand gently finds my breast and I smile when he sighs and gives my shoulder a sleepy kiss.  We can manage without pudding.

My thoughts drift to his gift, hidden in the old shed at the back of the garage.  God, I hope he likes it. I’ve been thinking about what to give him since the end of September. I mean, what do you get the man who really does have everything?  Or the means to acquire it, at least.   I can’t exactly give him a pair of novelty reindeer socks.  Although I did think of that.  As a joke.  They were on special in K-Mart last week.

And now I wonder what he might have got for me.  I asked him not to spend too much money because I can’t reciprocate, and though he rolled his eyes and muttered under his breath, I think he understands.  Besides, he’s spoilt me enough in the five months we’ve been together.  I know the gold bangle on my wrist cost more than my monthly pay packet.

Five months.  I’ve never laughed so much or felt this happy. We haven’t talked about the future yet; so far this has been about savouring what we’ve found together, appreciating each kiss and every caress, but I can’t imagine my life without him.   And I don’t want to.

One of the French doors bangs softly against the wall.   Angus doesn’t stir and I think now is probably a good time to bring his present in from the shed.  I move his arm carefully, slip out of bed and pull on my silk robe.  I don’t want to risk waking him, so I close the bedroom door behind me.  In the living room I fumble for the switch for the Christmas tree, instead of turning on the overhead light.

The little Christmas lights come on gradually and soon the tree looks like dozens of tiny stars have fallen from the sky into its leaves.  They sparkle alongside the glass ornaments and the strings of silver sleigh bells I ordered online, bathing the room in a warm glow.  The tree looks amazing, especially considering it was strapped to the roof of a speeding Audi for several hours this morning.  I can hardly see those bent branches now.  And Angus has declared it the finest Christmas tree he’s ever seen.

But I can’t stand here all night admiring the fairy lights, so I go into the kitchen and grab the torch from under the sink.  Despite the window being open, I can still catch the lingering aroma of the bedtime snack disaster.  It took ages for the smoke alarm to stop.  It’s funny, the things you learn about a person, and I’ve learned that the CEO of Creed Constructions cannot cook toast without burning it.  It’s charcoal every single time.  I don’t know how he does it, especially when he can cook a mushroom omelette to perfection.  I wave my arms around a bit, trying to clear the air some more, then head outside to get Angus’ new surfboard.

The ten foot longboard is in the back of the shed, covered by a tarpaulin that I pull off and drop on the ground.  I run my hand over the board’s surface, feeling the glassy smoothness beneath my fingers. This will be the first gift I’ve given him, well, apart from that yak wool beanie, and I’ve thought so hard about it.  I try to imagine Angus’ face when he sees it in the morning and as I bend my knees and get ready to lift, I hope I’ve made the right choice.

Surfboards might float on the water, but this one’s bloody heavy on dry land.  It didn’t look so heavy in the shop.  No, in the shop it looked spectacular. So tall and impressive, just like Angus.  It outshone every other board with its height and streamlined shape, and its pattern of stylised waves of electric blue.  I didn’t think about carrying it when I was giving the sales guy the address for courier delivery.

It’s a struggle to carry it under my arm, so I swing it onto my back, piggy-back style, and hold it there.  Of course that means the torch is useless now that my hands are behind my back.  I briefly consider holding it between my teeth, but I’d probably dislocate my jaw in the attempt and end up spending Christmas in the local hospital. So I leave the torch in the garage.  It’s a good thing the moon is so bright.

Hunched over, I make my way back, taking hesitant steps along the gravel drive and up the steps of the verandah that wraps around the house.  It’s tricky, carrying it this way.  The board is almost twice my length; I keep wobbling off-balance, and it keeps banging me on the back of the head. So now I’ll spend Christmas in hospital with bloody concussion.

Things get even trickier inside the house when I discover a ten foot board won’t fit under a nine foot ceiling.  And it won’t go easily around corners, either.

“Shit, bugger, bum.”

It’s like doing a three-point turn and as I go back and forth, maneuvering the board through doorways, I scrape the fin against the wall.  Shit! The renovations were only finished last week and I’m trashing the place the first night we sleep here!  I back up carefully, switch on the light, check the fin, then peer at the kitchen wall. The paint is okay, but there’s a gouge in the woodwork of the doorframe.  Not a big gouge.  More of a small dent, really.  But still…

I rub my hand briskly over the timber, as if that will fix everything, and then I switch off the light and continue my mission.  One awkward, plodding step at a time.

When I finally arrive in the living room, I’m not sure what to do with the thing.  I had wanted it standing upright beside the tree, in full view when Angus walks out of the bedroom in the morning.  But that’s obviously not going to happen.

I lie the surfboard on the floor, on its edge, and sort of angle it against the bucket that holds the trunk of the tree.  But it’s an unimpressive display.  I try draping some tinsel over it, glittering strands of red and gold, but it just looks like a very long ironing board, albeit a bright and festive one.

Maybe if I stand it sort of upright, but lean it against something.  Like the tree.

Very carefully, and after several attempts, I rearrange the board so its top half is nestled artistically amongst the branches. I spiral the tinsel around its exposed bottom half. Then I back away slowly, and study the display.  The surfboard looks like it’s hiding, peeking out from the bushes, expectant and waiting to be discovered.

“Perfect.”

But as I admire my handiwork, the board slowly tilts sideways.  I lunge forward and catch it, but not before it snags several strings of sleigh bells.  The jingle and chime of silver and brass echoes through the house.  It sounds like Rudolph and company have landed in the living room.

“Shit! Shh, shh…”  I drop the surfboard on the floor and grab desperately at the bells, trying to muffle them with my hands.  But there are so many of them, and the more I grab the more they keep ringing.  “Shh…SHH!…”  Oh, for fuck sake, why have we got bloody sleigh bells on the tree anyway?  We don’t have sleighs in Australia. I should have just kept with the tinsel.

No-one ever hears a peep out of tinsel.

“Zoe?”

I spin around, nearly pulling the tree over with me, and Angus is standing in the doorway, all six foot three of him, dark hair tousled, naked except for the bedsheet clutched loosely at his hip. His eyes have that half-closed, sleepy look I love.  It’s quite an appearance he makes; unfortunately this isn’t the time to savour it.

“Sorry,” I whisper.  “Didn’t mean to wake you.”  The bells give a final tinkle, determined to have the last word. I ignore them.  Bloody bells.

Angus yawns and rubs his hand over his face.  “What’s going on?” he asks.  “You okay?”

“Fine.”

He shoots a look at the tree, as a smirk curves his lips.

“Were you checking to see if Santa has been?”

“No.  Not at all.”  I wave vaguely towards the kitchen as I come up with a quick excuse.  “I was getting a drink.”  But now my gaze follows his to the small, roughly-wrapped parcel that sits at the base of the tree, almost behind the bucket. When did he sneak that in there?  And how had I not noticed it before? A thrill of excitement runs through me as I spy my name on the tag.

The present is small, not much bigger than my hand.  And it looks to be an odd shape, too, like something is bundled up inside the wrapping paper.  My mind races as I try to think what it could be.

“Come back to bed?”  There’s amusement in Angus’ voice.  I look up and he’s smiling, head cocked.  He holds out his hand to me and any other time I wouldn’t hesitate.  But now I’m curious about the parcel under the tree.  And of course there’s still the surfboard to arrange.

I move towards him, slowly, trying to think.  I might just have to wait until he’s fallen back to sleep, and then have another go.  Although, I know what he’s like, and once he’s awake, that’s it, he’s awake.  It could be ages before he’s asleep again, and I’ll have nodded off before it happens and missed my chance.

This is probably why Mum was always so tired on Christmas mornings when I was little.  All those Christmas Eve’s when I insisted on staying awake to see Santa, and she’d have to wait for me to finally pass out before she could put my presents under the tree.  I could make it to midnight or 1a.m. easily, and then be up at five, shouting, “He’s been!  He’s been!”  I’ll have to tell her about this tomorrow when she arrives for lunch.  No doubt, she’ll have a good laugh while I’m yawning over the smoked honey prawns.

I hold out my hand to take Angus’, but he’s looking past me now, frowning, his gaze fixed on the floor near the sofa.

“Zoe, is that…a surfboard?”

Bugger.

I take a quick step back, as if that is going to hide a ten foot longboard of electric blue.

“No.”

Now Angus looks up at me.  There’s curiosity in his eyes, but a smile tugs at his lips.  “Are you sure?  It looks like one.”

My thoughts tumble with a dozen ridiculous excuses, but it only takes a moment for me to realise the cat’s out of the bag – or the board’s out of the shed – and I have to come clean.     So I smile too, but it’s a nervous one because this is it.  My first gift to Angus.  My stomach begins to tie itself in an elaborate knot as he watches me, waiting.  This feels very much like stage fright.

“Okay,” I say, finally.  “Yes, it’s a surfboard.”

“I thought so.”  Angus takes a slow step into the room.  “Where did it come from?”

I shrug, and keep smiling.  “Santa?”

“I see.  Does Santa know you can’t surf?”

“He does.  But he also knows that you can.

I step aside, revealing my gift in all its glory but Angus doesn’t come any closer.  He’s very still, just staring at the surfboard like it’s some great mystery. I wish I knew what he was thinking.  Or maybe I don’t.  The knot in my stomach has just twisted itself into a double truckie’s hitch.

“For me?” he asks.

“Yes.  You.”

There’s a spark of excitement in his eyes.  “It’s been a while,” he says softly.

“I know, and that’s why…” I pause, trying to gather my thoughts and get the words right. “Angus, do you remember when we talked that first day in your office?  When you were trying to dance?”

He nods, his gaze coming back to me.  “And you were hiding behind a potted palm.”

“No, I wasn’t hiding, I was being discreet.”  He’ll never let me forget that, will he?  “And anyway, that’s all beside the point right now.”  I take a slow breath.  “You said then that you didn’t get time to surf anymore, and that Chicago wasn’t conducive to surfing anyway and I got the feeling that it was something you really missed.”  I shrug. “Now you have this place…”

We have this place.”

His clarification sends a surprising rush of warmth through me, and I smile.  “We have this place, right on the beach, and I don’t want you to miss anything anymore.”

For a moment it’s like Angus hasn’t heard me.  Or understood.  His face is quite blank.  But there’s emotion in his eyes I can’t mistake.  It’s the same look he wore that night of the ball, when I told him I love him.  The knot in my stomach begins to slip undone.

A smile starts on Angus’ lips.  It grows, becoming a grin that lights up his face way brighter than the world’s best Christmas tree which is sparkling away to his right.  His eyes crinkle at the corners.  I realise I’m grinning too.  “I know you could have bought yourself a surfboard, and you probably would have at some point, but I wanted to do this for you.  Merry Christmas, Angus.”

He comes forward, sheet dragging behind him.  I expect him to check out his gift, but he doesn’t.  Instead he pulls me into his arms, lifts me up and spins us around. “I’m not missing anything,” he says.

He’s about to kiss me, when his feet tangle in the sheet.  We stumble backwards, bumping into the tree and sprawling onto the floor, tangled in Egyptian cotton, a string of sleigh bells, and each other.  The tree sways above us as we lay, laughing, beneath the twinkling lights.

“You know, this isn’t really going how I expected.”

“No?”
I shake my head.  “Not all.  I had this perfect Christmas planned for you.  With a pudding on the table, and a present waiting properly under the tree on Christmas morning.”

“Planning can be overrated.”  Angus gently tugs on the sleeve of my robe.  The silk slips slowly down my arm and he kisses my bare shoulder.  “This is much more fun. And I can promise you, this is by far the best Christmas I’ve ever had.”  He nibbles my ear, making me giggle and shiver.  “And the surfboard is the best present I’ve ever had.”

“You like it?”

“I do.  And I love the thought behind it.”  He touches my cheek.  “I love you.”  Then his lips are gently parting mine in a kiss that’s soft and slow and leaves me in no doubt of his feelings.  When he pulls back, his eyes are tender and warm, but there’s mischief lurking there, too.

“Zoe?”

“Mm?”

He flashes me a boyish grin.  “Can I look at my surfboard now, or do I have to wait until morning?”

I erupt in giggles.  “Well, I suppose now you’ve seen it…”

He doesn’t waste any time.  He stands, helps me to my feet, and holds my hand as we cross the room.  Angus crouches down by the board.

“I haven’t owned a long board before.”  He strokes his hand down its length, as far as he can reach.  “I thought we weren’t supposed to spend a lot of money.”
I crouch beside him.  “No, you weren’t supposed to spend a lot of money.”  He shoots me a quick look then turns back to his present.

“I was planning to buy one,” he says.  “How did you know?  I never mentioned…”

“I just told you.  That night in your office, we talked.”

“Yes, but that was two lines of conversation, half a year ago. I didn’t tell you I missed it.”

“It was the way you didn’t say it.”

He blinks at me.  “The way I didn’t…”  He breaks off and shakes his head.  “You amaze me sometimes.”  He reaches out to pull me closer, and kisses my temple.  “So where were you hiding this?” he asks.

“In the shed.  I got it couriered to Mr Ellis.”

He chuckles softly.  “So you’ve found another benefit of employing a property manager,” he says.  “Someone to look after the gardens, check the locks and hide things in the shed.”

“Uh huh.”

He turns the board over carefully and examines the other side, his long fingers tracing the patterns of the waves.  “Zoe, this is fantastic.  Thank you.  If it wasn’t the middle of the night I’d go down to the beach right now and try it out.”

“First thing in the morning, then.”

He nods.  “Absolutely.  First thing.”  Then he tells me all about the best wave of his life, at Bells Beach, when he was nineteen.

“Before you were thumping tables in board rooms.”

“Long before.”

He checks out the fin.  He talks about balance and turns, before he stands, lifting the board and tucking it under one arm, and then the other, all the time being careful not to whack it into the furniture.  He’s so much better at handling it than me.

He spends another moment or two in close examination, then he leans the board against the wall carefully before turning to face me.  “Now it’s your turn,” he says.

“What?”

“Presents. It’s after midnight, so it’s officially Christmas morning.”  He arches a brow.  “Unless you want to wait for the sun to come up?”

“No.  No, now is good,” I say, and what feels like a swarm of excited butterflies take flight in my stomach. Angus grins and re-hitches the sheet, gathering it again around his hips.

“I should probably put some clothes on for this,” he mumbles and heads to the bedroom. “I won’t be long.”

He disappears, leaving me to stare at his roughly wrapped gift.

That gorgeous scarf from David Jones, maybe?  The turquoise swim suit from Sea Folly? Or the vintage t-shirt I saw online?  It looks a bit too small for the Fossil clutch bag.  But I don’t have too long to ponder, because only a moment later Angus returns.  He’s pulled on a pair of jeans.  And he hasn’t done them up all the way.  The top two buttons are undone.  His chest is still bare.  Really, who needs presents?

“Zoe?”
“Hmm?”  I realise I’m staring.  But that’s okay, he’s been known to take a good long look when I’m in my silk nightie.  Or in anything, really.

He reaches beneath the tree and hands me my present.  My heart picks up, and the grin is stretched across my face as he sits on the floor beside me.

“Merry Christmas,” he says.  “I hope you like it.”

I know I will, whatever it is, just because it’s from him.  Anticipation bubbles through me as I tug the paper free.

“Oh…”

I feel a moment of shock before I dissolve into laughter.

“Oh my God, you’ve been to K-Mart.”  I hold up the pair of bright red reindeer socks.

“Last Thursday,” he says, eyes bright. “They were on special, so I didn’t spend too much money,” he adds pointedly.

“I was going to do this too.  For you!”  I touch a reindeer on the nose.  “Thursday?  That was the day you met with the Premier.”

“It was.”

“You wore your CEO suit.”  The one he reserves for really high level meetings.  I can just imagine him, wearing the don’t-mess-with-me power suit, buying reindeer socks.

“Yep. And the posh tie,” he says.  “And you know I don’t carry much cash so I was rummaging through my pockets, counting out dollar coins and ten cent pieces while the cashier was rolling her eyes and the woman queuing behind offered me two dollars if I needed it.”

“Oh no!”

“I declined, of course.”

“So what did you do?”

“Pulled out the credit card.  Then the cashier said there was a ten dollar minimum, so I emptied the rack of chocolate bars at the end of the check-out and bought those too.  I shared them round the office when I got back.”  He smirks.  “I got lots of curious looks as I walked around leaving Mars Bars on desks.  I think people were worried I’d decided to give them candy for Christmas instead of their bonus cheques.”

The image is too funny and I’m belly laughing so hard I can barely push my feet into my precious socks.

“Well, thank you, Angus,” I say, as formally as I can between giggles. He watches as I wriggle my toes. “They’re lovely.”

“I’m glad you like them.”  He gives my left foot a playful tug.  “But I think you know this is just a bit of fun. And there might be something else.”

It’s very rare to see Angus nervous, but I’m seeing it now.  His smile has faded and he rubs his hand over the back of his neck.  I’m reminded of that night at the train station when I brushed the dust from his coat.  With his other hand he tries to take something from his back pocket, but it gets caught.  He rolls his eyes as he tugs again, harder this time.  My heart skips as whatever he’s battling with comes free, and he holds it out to me.

Across Angus’ palm lies a flat, rectangular box of pale blue velvet, tied with a clumsy, lopsided bow.  He looks almost apologetic.

“I can build skyscrapers and bridges, but I’m afraid gift wrapping isn’t in my skill set.”  He gives me a shaky smile as he places the box in my hands.

For some reason I think of plane tickets. It’s about the right size to hold them and I wonder if he’s making good his promise that one day he’d take me to see Mt Everest after all.

But the box doesn’t seem right for plane tickets.  The velvet is worn along the edges, like it’s been well-handled; well-loved. Peeking from beneath the bow, in faded gold print, are the words Hudson’s Jewellers.  An antique bracelet? Or necklace?

“Angus, you said you wouldn’t spend too much money.”

“I didn’t,” he says quietly.  “Not a cent.”

I can feel his eyes on me as I run my fingers over the velvet.  The bow comes untied with a gentle pull and I lift the lid.

From a silver chain hangs a single, creamy pearl; the silver bail that links them is delicately engraved.  “Oh, Angus, it’s beautiful.”  Its simple, classic elegance is stunning, and exactly the style I love.  “It’s perfect.”

I look up, and the love in Angus’ eyes is overwhelming; it takes me by surprise.  “This was the first Christmas present my grandfather gave my grandmother,” he says quietly.

Now the significance of his gift hits me full force, like a wave crashing on a beach.  I know what his grandparents meant to him.  For him to give this to me is just…

It takes me a moment to find my words.

“He loved her very much, didn’t he?”

“He adored her.” Angus reaches out and gently tucks a stray lock of hair behind my ear.  His eyes are shining.  “As I adore you.  Merry Christmas, Zoe.”

With the box still in my hand I throw my arms around him and hug him with everything I have.  Hug him until I think my arms will break. I don’t know what to say.  I don’t know how to tell him what this means to me. Or that I know what it means to him.  So I keep it simple, and whisper thank you, and I tell him I love his gift.  And that I love him.  I think he understands.  He pulls me into his lap and holds me close, burying his face in my neck.  He’s smiling.  I can feel the curve of his lips against my skin.

We stay like that for a while, curled up in each other, beneath the lights of the world’s finest Christmas tree, soaking up the best Christmas in history. Then Angus asks me if I’d like to put the necklace on.

He takes it from its silky bed and clasps the chain gently around my neck.  The pearl sits delicately against my chest.

“It looks lovely on you,” he says.

I reach down and touch the pearl, rolling it between my fingers, feeling its smoothness.  The full moon is shining bright through the windows and I smile.  “Look,” I nod towards the window and then down at my gift. “It’s like someone has caught the moon and hung it on a chain.  Come and see.”

We get to our feet and walk into the bedroom, through the French doors, and out onto the verandah.  Angus pulls me to him, my back to his front, and wraps his arms around me.  His chin rests on my shoulder as we look up at the sky. “I see,” he says softly, and I feel the heat of his kiss on my neck.  “Zoe?”

“Mm?”   His lips make another pass, lingering longer this time, making me sigh.  Then his words come softly.

“You talked earlier about making things perfect, but I’ve had lots of perfect in the past five months.  It started when you flew half way around the world to crash a black-tie ball in your hiking boots to tell me you love me.”

He flexes his arms around me and I snuggle deeper into him. “That was quite a night.”

“It was quite a night.  And afterwards, in my hotel room…”

“Um, I fell asleep.”

“You were jetlagged.” He chuckles softly.  “But in the morning, when you woke up…”

I giggle.  “Yeah, that was pretty much perfect.”  I turn to face him, smiling into his dark eyes as we both remember.

“And every day since then has been better than the last,” he whispers.

The wind blows harder.  The ocean rumbles.  The French doors creak, and then crash as they slam closed.  Angus takes my hand.

“Zoe, will you marry me?”

The gasp I hear is mine.

Oh my God.

Did he…?

Yes he did.

He just proposed!

And I’m wearing bloody reindeer socks!

There’s a swooping in my stomach.  This has come completely out of the blue and while a very small corner of my brain asks if this is too soon, the rest of me already knows the answer and is preparing to shout it from the tree tops.  Or from the verandah, anyway. But all that comes out my mouth is an excited squeak.  There’s a flash of panic in Angus’ eyes.

“What does that mean?  Is that…was that a yes?”

I’m nodding frantically. Angus is matching my movements, nodding with me, his eyes still wide with uncertainty.  We’re like two of those bobble-head dogs that sit on car dashboards.

“Yes,” I finally manage to get out.  “Yes!”

“Oh, thank God.”  Angus’ head rolls back on his shoulders and he laughs.  “Thank God.  For a moment there…”  But he doesn’t finish.  Instead he takes my face in his hands and kisses me.  Hard. Showing me with his lips exactly what he feels in his heart.  I kiss him back with the same promise, wrapping myself around him like I’ll never be close enough.

“You said yes,” he whispers against my lips.

“Yes.”

“Not too soon?”

“No.”

“I didn’t think so either.”

The wind blows some strands of hair into my face and Angus brushes them away.  “We’ll buy a ring when we get back to Sydney,” he says.  “What would you like?  Diamonds? Rubies?”

I touch my necklace; his first Christmas gift to me.  “Maybe a pearl?”

Surprise flickers across Angus’ face, but then softens into a smile.  “That would be different.”

“I like different.”

“I know.”

He holds me close.  I press my cheek to his chest, listening to the safe, steady beat of his heart, and realise I’ll fall asleep to that sound every night for the rest of my life.  The thought makes me smile.

I feel Angus’ lips in my hair. I trail kisses over his chest, over his heart, and I smile when he shivers and sighs.  He runs his hands over my back and down to my hips, caressing me through the silk of my robe. I moan when his hands slide inside the robe.

“Shall we celebrate inside?” he murmurs.

“Yes.”

I laugh as Angus sweeps me off my feet and into his arms. He beams at me, his smile brighter than the moon.  Or the sun. Then he reaches for the handle of the French door.  But when he turns it, nothing happens.

“Hmm, locked.” He bumps it gently with his shoulder, but nothing. He sets me down and bumps it a little harder, but the door stays shut.  He bends down and fiddles with the handle, muttering under his breath and quietly cursing the sophisticated pick-proof security locks he’s had installed.  Then he steps back, pulling his hands through his hair, and looks at me, bewildered.  “We’re locked out.”

“No!  Seriously?  Tonight?  Now?” Suddenly, my mind flashes back to the cabin in the Blue Mountains, and that awkward night we first met.  “Oh, dear.”  A giggle escapes me.  “It’s like Govets Leap all over again, isn’t it?”

Angus groans.  Then laughs.  His shoulders shake as he sags against the sandstone wall of the house.  “Can you believe this?”

“No.  And yes.”

He sighs, and reaches for me.  “Ah, Zoe, will it always be like this?”

“Probably,” I laugh.

He smiles down at me.  “I hope so. Merry Christmas, Zoe.”

“Merry Christmas, Angus.”

“And now I have another important question to ask you.”

“Oh?”

He nods, very serious, though I catch the mischief in his eyes.  He leans down to whisper in my ear…

“Which one of us is going to climb through the kitchen window this time?”

~~~

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

~~~

If this is the first time you’ve met Angus and Zoe and you’d like to see where their story started, you can find “Over The Edge”  here…

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20 thoughts on “Surboards & Sleighbells: An “Over The Edge” Christmas Outtake

  1. Lindsey V. says:

    Ah, I love it. Such a great proposal!

    Thank you so much for the scene! 🙂

  2. michelle shield says:

    Absolutely love it! happy Christmas xx

  3. Clare Cliffe says:

    Melanie Moreland (Edward’s Eternal) posted a link to this on Facebook and I’m so glad she did. I loved over the edge and a little glimpse into Zoe and Angus’s future was wonderful. I love Zoe in particular and her sense of humour. That was a lovely little Christmas treat, thank you. Twiclare

  4. Melanie Moreland says:

    Loved seeing more of them and how happy they are… I think you had best start on another small glimpse. I bet Angus would like a mini-me to teach how to surf… just saying.

  5. RK says:

    i love it!! this is the perfect epilogue , thank you for this. Over the Edge is one of my favorite books. Happy Holidays.

  6. Jo says:

    Just perfect! What a wonderful Christmas outtake. These characters touch my heart. Merry Christmas to you too 😀

  7. Jacinda Buchmann says:

    Thank you. Just read this as we’re on the snowy road trip to Montana. I love their story and I love Christmas stories. Great combination:-) Merry Christmas!

  8. Sandra says:

    finished over the edge today and loved it. had to look for more and happy to find a christmas outtake and such a sweet proposal. Can`t wait to read more from you in the future.
    Merry christmas to you and your family,

    Sandra xx

  9. Debbie says:

    Oh, wow. I loved this. It’s like a little one shot, and now I’ll need to go back and read the story so I can find out more about these characters. I LOVE your writing. So beautiful. Thanks for sharing! Dlhk/mommyofboth

  10. Gillian says:

    I purchased Over the Edge through amazon and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your sweet, funny story and yhe characters you crafted! This future peek was simply perfect. Thank you for this gift…

  11. Debbie says:

    Ok, I’ve read it before, but now that I’ve read the original story there’s so much more I picked out. So many significant moments for them. I loved this. Thanks so much for sharing. DLHK/mommyofboth

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