Anna Ellis

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Making Friends

1

I stomp the snow off my boots as I come in the door. By now Frodo looks like a white lump of a bulldog, his brown patches covered with snow. I should have brushed him off before I came in.

“It’s really coming down,” Dominic says. Knowing I would forget to do so, he’s already at the door to brush off the dog.

“We should go tobogganing. If we knew where to go,” I add somewhat bitterly.

“I’m sure we can ask around and find out the best spots.”

“If we ever see anyone. I swear, I don’t think there’s anyone living here! We haven’t seen a person on this street since we moved in.” I stalk to the window still wearing my puffy coat and stare at the snow again.

“Maybe they keep seeing you at the window and don’t like being stared at.”

“I doubt they can see me. Even if they could see through the snow, the sun would be reflected on the window, and I never look out when it’s dark. Either way, they would have to have incredibly good eyesight to catch me watching.”

“Always so literal, aren’t you?”

“It’s not like there’s anything to see out there. Do you know the houses on the opposite sides of the street are identical?” My breath fogs the window. I know I’m not making this easier on Dom, but he still comes and takes my coat to hang it in the closet.

I turn away from the window with a grimace. There really isn’t anything to look at outside. But inside, there’s Hanna, earnestly working on a puzzle; she’s a miniature version of Dominic except with my explosion of dark curls. “If you went out now, you’d look like a snowman,” I tell her.

“Snow girl,” corrects my politically correct five-year-old. “Can I have hot chocolate?”

“Straight up or with a twist?”

“With marshmallows!”

“Good luck to me finding them,” I head into the kitchen, still strewn with half-opened packing boxes. I know I’m not the world’s best packer but I suspect I may well be the worst un-packer.

Ten days ago we moved from our much-loved home in the city to here; the cutthroat jungle of big box stores and acres of parking lots and identical houses distinguished only by different coloured garage doors. We moved to a New Subdivision.

“You look tired,” Dominic comments as he follows me into the kitchen. I manage to find the marshmallows in the third box but am having trouble locating the hot chocolate.

“I am. Do you think it might have anything to do with me trying to entertain Hanna all day, every day for the Christmas holidays, Christmas itself, the fact that your six-month-old son will not learn how to sleep past five A.M. or that we just moved into this godforsaken-blight-on-the-face-of civilization place during a snowstorm? I think there still might be snowdrifts in the boxes.” I punctuate this with a toothy smile so Dom won’t take offense. I mean all of it, but I’ve learned it’s not always good to seem too bitchy.

“I don’t think a place can be godforsaken if it’s a blight on the face of civilization. I think God might notice. Maybe un-forsake it a bit.” I roll my eyes dramatically at his logic. “It’s the suburbs, Jacey. It’s not the end of the world. It’s even pretty close to the city.” He hands me the hot chocolate container which had been sitting on the counter.

“Don’t ever mention the city to me again. Did you know that the creation of a subdivision used to be the first step in creating a new city?”

“Ben’s having a good nap,” Dominic says instead. He’s usually pretty tolerant about receiving my sporadic snippets of information, but when he does one of his abrupt changes of topic, I know he’s had enough. Ben is our six-month-old and is going through a phase where he likes to sleep much better in the daytime than at night. Sort of like a cat. “I just thought if you were tired then you might want to lie down for a nap,” Dom says carefully.

So that’s what he’s getting at. In our marriage, the word ‘nap’ has become the euphemism for sex. Our five-year-old Hanna is growing up thinking Mommy and Daddy naps as often as she does.

My response to Dominic should be, ‘That sounds like a good idea,’ and take myself up to our bedroom, where a short time later after positioning her in front of the television, Dominic will tell Hanna he’s checking on Mommy and join me for a half-naked quickie. Not the best parenting behaviour, but I’m sure we’re not the only ones in the world who do it.

“I should unpack some boxes,” I say reluctantly. “I have twenty-six boxes left to do and I don’t have a clue where half of the stuff should go.”

Dominic turns away from me with a resigned shrug of his shoulders. He’s wearing his old U2 concert shirt and a pair of jeans so faded they look white around the thighs and crotch. They also make his ass look amazing. My husband has a great ass, and the rest of him isn’t all that bad either. “Maybe I am a little tired,” I say.

He gives me a sexy smile over his shoulder, the same smile that made me fall in love with him. I head upstairs, leaving him to make the hot chocolate for Hanna.

I still haven’t got around to putting curtains on our bedroom window, and as I quickly shed my clothes, I stand in front of it, wondering if anyone can see me. They might not be able to see all of me, just a shape and shadow. Would they know what I was doing? Could they see Dominic and me? Did anyone see us making love the other night?

The thought doesn’t disturb me like it should. In fact, it excites me.

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Author: hollykerrauthor

Author of chicklit novels, Unexpecting, Coming Home, Absinthe Doesn't Make the Heart Grow Fonder and The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd

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