Let It Snow
By Maisie and Ro
Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we've no place to go
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Jaime waved good-bye to Katie her daughter as she took the flight attendant's hand. This was her ex-husband's turn to have her for the Christmas holidays. As she weaved her way out through the throng of holiday passengers at La Guardia, she felt a pang of missing her even though she had been out of sight less than fifteen minutes. Now that she and her fiancé David had broken up it promised to be a lonely holiday rather than a family one. A lonely and cold holiday bearing in mind the gusting winds that cut her cheeks with their sharpness. She ducked her head and tried to hail passing cabs but they all seemed to be in a hurry to go home. Flurries of snow started falling.
A man in a black overcoat came out of the airport door and whistled at a passing cab and it screeched to a stop for him. Jaime gave an unladylike curse under her breath, which came out in hoary puffs. The man bent to speak to the cabbie and then gestured to Jaime to take the cab. Jaime was surprised at the gentlemanly gesture and then smiled as she realized that this was truly the time when even New Yorkers got into the spirit of the season.
She walked up to the cab all set to wish the man well for the holidays when they both did a double take as they recognized one another. "Rey, this is a surprise."
"Hello Jaime. Yes it is, and a pleasant one."
"Hey mister, I ain't got all night," interrupted the cabbie.
Rey gestured for Jaime to get into the cab with rueful smile. She hesitated then said, "If you're going into the city, why don't we share the cab?"
He threw her a grateful glance. "That sounds great." He stowed the case he was carrying in the trunk and slid in beside her. They looked at one another shyly now that immediate greetings were over. They had worked together several years ago but were not so social that they could take up conversation where they had left off. He noticed that her hair had grown so that now it touched her shoulders and made her look softer and less like a lawyer. She noticed that he looked fatigued.
They both spoke together.
Both laughed and he said, "You first."
"I was wondering where you were coming from?"
"You're lucky to be home in time to spend Christmas with your family."
Laughter left his face. "Unluckily, it will have to be on my own. My family is still in San Juan." He changed the subject. "What have you been doing since you left the DA's office?"
"Do you remember Shambala Green? I take on some cases for her."
They talked desultorily about the people they had worked with at the 27th Precinct and 100 Centre Street till they reached her home on East 36th Street.
Jaime looked at her companion. She asked hesitantly, "If you have no place to go but to an empty apartment, would you like to come in for some eggnog?"
He looked surprised and even more tired if that was possible. He also hesitated as he saw that the wet flurries had turned to blinding snow.
"I have a real fireplace with a roaring log fire," tempted Jaime, and afterwards she couldn't say why she had been so keen to invite him in except that there was a lonely look on his face which echoed her own emotions. As one pair of dark eyes searched the other for answers to unanticipated questions, the cabbie growled again "Come on, mister. I ain't got all night,"
Rey smiled his acceptance and got out of the cab.
It doesn't show signs of stopping
And I've bought some corn for popping
The lights are turned way down low
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
She hung up his coat and asked, "Would you like something to eat? I've traveled enough to know airline food is inedible. I can make you a sandwich if you like."
He gave a tired smile. "No thanks, but I won't refuse your offer of eggnog."
She led him to the living room where the Christmas tree glittered with red and gold ornaments in the dim glow of just one lamp. "Just stoke the fire, I'll be back in a few minutes."
Rey crouched to do as she suggested and had the fire kindled and was relaxing with his head resting on the back of the couch and eyes closed by the time she returned with two glasses brimming with eggnog and a platter of cheese and crackers.
"Thanks," he said as he took the glass. He looked at the photographs of Katie on the mantelpiece. "Is your daughter asleep?"
"No, she's spending the holidays with her father in California." Her voice was wistful as she looked around the room and noticed signs of her daughter's presence like her Christmas stocking that she had forgotten to take with her or the bowl of popcorn that they had spent the afternoon stringing.
Rey nodded in empathy. "So what will you do over the holidays?"
"I'll drive up to New Hampshire to visit my elder brother and his family. What about you? Do you have any other family here now that your wife and daughters are in San Juan?"
"No," he said faltering for a moment before he continued almost unwillingly, "My wife passed away two years ago so for the past two years I send the children to my mother and work on Christmas."
Jaime felt compassion for the man in front of her. "I'm sorry. I didn't know. I knew she was ill but I didn't realize it was terminal."
"She didn't have MS as doctors first diagnosed. It was a rare debilitating disease that wasted away her body."
"I'm sorry." Jaime felt inadequate at expressing herself. "I can understand how you must be feeling specially at this time of the year."
"How can you?" he asked bitterly. "You don't have to juggle a risky career while trying to hold a family together. You don't have to deal with problems that their mother would have known what to do about. You don' t get up in the middle of the night desperate for a warm body next to yours. So how can you know how I feel?"
Jaime felt color seep into her cheeks at his harsh words and hoped he would put it down to the heat of the fire. He closed his eyes as he sighed. "Now it's my turn to say I'm sorry." He got up. "Maybe I should go home."
When we finally kiss goodnight
How I'll hate going out in the storm!
But if you'll really hold me tight
All the way home I'll be warm
He put on his overcoat and picked up his case. Jaime followed him silently to the front door. She said, "The snow doesn't show signs of stopping. Let me call you a cab."
He nodded. "Thanks." As she turned to go, he said awkwardly, "Look, Jaime I know you were only being kind when you invited me tonight…"
She interrupted him, "Please don't say any more. It wasn't kindness. I was being selfish. I didn't want to spend tonight on my own. You don' t have a monopoly on being lonely, you know. I thought we would talk, listen to some music, share some wine." She waved her hand in a dismissing gesture. "I was wrong. You don't have to beat yourself for my mistake."
He stared at her for a lengthy moment in silence. His next question amazed her. "What happened to the guy you were going to marry?"
She replied after a pause, "We wanted different things so we parted. Why do you want to know?"
He said, "Because I don't want to step on any toes while I take advantage of this chance to say good-bye properly."
He pointed to the mistletoe hanging over the door and bent his head to brush his mouth against hers. She felt his tongue skim her lips and with a shuddering sigh that had been building up in her she welcomed the onslaught of his mouth that changed from a gentle touch to passion.
The fire is slowly dying
And, my dear, we're still goodbying
But as long as you love me so
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Jaime shivered out of sleep on the couch and saw that the roaring fire had kindled down to glowing embers. With a jolt she realized that it had been Rey turning on his side that had disturbed her. He was perilously close to the edge of the couch and remained mainly because he had an arm thrown across her. She looked at the tanned arm with fine black hairs contrasting drastically with her own alabaster skin and the vision of those long fingers trailing over her body last night sent shivers of another kind through her body. He must have felt it because he stirred against her in protest to be pulled out of sleep and slowly opened his eyes. She noticed that it took him a moment to figure out where he was but when he did he did not seem surprised.
"What time is it?" he asked in a husky whisper.
Jaime shrugged as if to say I don't know, and the movement made him drop his eyes to her creamy breasts. He made a sound in his throat as he saw that just his gaze made the peaks perk up. He lifted a finger to touch it lightly and Jaime tensed …with an emotion she could not recognize ever feeling before. It was part excitement, part fear and part embarrassment. He noticed her alienation immediately and sat up and ran his fingers through his hair. Without looking at her, he reached for the clothing that lay in a discarded heap on the plush Persian carpet. He couldn't locate her top so he handed her his shirt which she buttoned gratefully. After he had pulled on his pants, he
said, "It seems I've overstayed my welcome."
When Jaime remained silent, he continued, "I don't know what to say Jaime. This is not a common occurrence for me so I don' t know the etiquettes of a …"
He stopped so Jaime concluded, "…of a one-night-stand."
He went still all of a sudden as if she had punched him in the stomach. Jaime sighed, "I apologize Rey. I know it wasn't like that ... at least not for me. Let's put it down to seasonal madness and forget about it."
He looked at her silently as if debating what to say next, then said slowly, "It seems we skipped the getting to know each other stage and went straight from working together to…" Again he stopped.
She concluded again, "….sleeping together."
He shook his head. "I was going to say needing each other."
She bowed her head. "I'm not usually like this either Rey. I'm a strong woman."
He nodded his head. "I know. I worked with you remember? Only a strong independent woman could have stood up to Jack McCoy and Adam Schiff like you did. What I meant was that we both needed a warm body and a understanding heart tonight. There' s nothing to be embarrassed about what happened between us Jaime. In fact, the way we connected so in tune with one another makes me think that we would be foolish to ignore what we shared."
Jaime stared at him in surprise. "Do you realize how complicated it would get if we ... if we continue to see each other? I don't want to get hurt again Rey. "
"Complicated but not impossible," he replied. "It is up to you ... do you want me to stay and take a risk that you might get hurt or do you want me to say good-bye here and now and never know what might have been?"
Jaime was silent as she pondered over his question. She had never been the sort to take risks. The decisions she had made before had been mulled over from all angles before she had made them, yet many of them had gone awry. Her eyes focused on the snow outside her window which were still falling like a white gift from the heavens turning the world into a winter wonderland. It was going to be a white Christmas and she realized that she wanted to spend it with this man in front of her waiting patiently for her answer.
She said slowly, "I think you should say good-bye ... like you did last night."
Rey smiled with relief and reached out to pull her head against his shoulder. "It won't be good-bye then, but hello, sweetheart."