A Bad Boy for Christmas

By: Jessica Lemmon

Evidently, copious amounts of sex with a man who thought Sofie walked on water could cure many body hang-ups. Faith couldn’t say she knew from experience. While she and Michael had sex when they were together, “copious” never described their love life. More like a light drizzle than a monsoon. Scheduled. And he had his own prejudice for the way a woman’s body should look. Faith hadn’t met his “requirements.” She felt her face pinch in disgust.

“Abundance has the best anything-salad,” Sofie said, dipping another chip. “Have you had their Waldorf? To die for.”

Faith slapped a smile on her face when she realized she’d been grousing over Michael, of all things.

Her best friend, who had probably been reading her mind this entire evening, asked, “Still can’t go in there?” Sofie’s brows bowed into a sympathetic bend. “You know I can pick you up something whenever I go. We do work together. It’s not like it would be hard to get it to you.”

“I don’t think about it, actually.” Minor lie. A lie of necessity. An affirmation, really.

Her friends smiled, tight-lipped, letting her have the lie. This was why they were her friends. They knew when to intervene and shake sense into her, but they also knew when she needed her space.

“I have three horror movies.” Faith held up the sleeves containing movies she’d rented at a kiosk outside the wine shop. Since the Cove’s local video rental closed, there wasn’t anywhere else to rent good movies unless she bought them. And horror movies were seasonal—not something she wanted in her permanent collection.

“It is almost Halloween, and—” Out of nowhere, thunder shook the house, making them all gasp, then laugh. On the end of her laugh, Faith finished, “And it is our duty to watch some scary, twisted stuff.”

“So the Devil Dogs are kind of in theme.” Charlie winked.

Snatching a bottle by the neck, Faith spun the wine and showed off the label. “So is the wine.”

“Blood Bath?” Sofie wrinkled her cute nose. “I assume that’s a red.”

“With notes of mania.” Charlie nodded.

Sofie grinned. “Finishes in the trunk of a car.”

Faith laughed. “Come on, let’s see how many we can watch.”

* * *

An hour later, the three of them were crammed onto Faith’s sofa, each covered in their own afghan. Faith sat with her knees to her chest, arms wrapped around them. The Devil Dogs had been obliterated, and so had the Blood Bath.

Sofie was at the far end of the sofa, lounging on one arm, a half smile on her face. Charlie was in the middle, properly alarmed at the madman stalking a group of teens at a lake, but her scared shrieks often dissolved into hearty laughter.

Faith did not feel like laughing. She had underestimated her ability to handle this kind of a movie while living alone. Yes, it was campy. Yes, it was ridiculous. Yes, the blood was fake. But something about having a huge, un-killable man near a lake was freaking her right out.

Not that she’d admit it. She wondered if she should open another bottle of wine, but worried if she drank more, she would end up awake in the middle of the night, heart pounding like a kettledrum, panicking over every subtle noise…

That would not be good.

If she still lived at Linda Shelby’s house she could dig a Valium out of her mother’s medicine cabinet to help her sleep. As it stood, she’d just have to go it alone.

The credits rolled and Charlie stretched. “One of my favorites.”

“Really?” Sofie asked. “I prefer the Scream movies. Good, old-fashioned, terrifying fun.”

“What’s next?” Charlie asked.

Next? Faith gulped in fear. She’d been very, very brave when she’d picked movies at the kiosk. What with the sun shining and no danger of anything lurking around corners. Now that it was nighttime, she’d gone yellow.

“Yeah, I’m ready for more wine and more horror,” Sofie said, rubbing her hands together. “Faith?”

“Oh. Yeah. Bring it on.” She wiped her clammy hands on her blanket.

Sofie narrowed one eye. “You sure?”

Faith pulled back her shoulders and grinned. She was done being a fraidy cat about every freaking thing in her life. Tonight, she’d finally watch a Saw movie, and tomorrow, she’d finally set foot into Abundance Market. And, hell, may as well have more wine.

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