“Taylor! Taylor, wake up!” I felt someone rocking my shoulder. “Jordan!”
I bolted up in bed. “I’ll get the suitcase!” I shouted, throwing off the covers. I went to put my feet on the ground but wound up catching my leg in the sheet that was tucked under the mattress and falling to the floor. “Help!” I screamed in surprise as I jammed my knee against the hard ground and got even more twisted up in the bedding.
My wife’s face appeared over the edge of the bed, starring down at me lying on the ground, now somehow on my back. “What are you trying to do?” She asked. “Wake up the whole house?!?”
“Ow,” I whined grabbing for my aching knee. With the help of Clare, we somehow managed to untangle me from the sheets. “Does this mean it’s not time?” I asked, standing up on my right leg so there would be no weight on the left one, the one with the jammed knee.
“Time?” She asked, obviously confused. “Time for what?” I sat down on the bed and rubbed my knee. “Oh!” She exclaimed.
“Yeah ‘Oh!’,” I said rolling my eyes. “Clare, don’t do that to me,” I begged. “I almost killed myself right there. I’m already running on a few hours sleep.” I looked at my watch. “Make that two hours sleep.” I looked back at her, “why am I up at six AM?”
“Merry Christmas to you too,” my wife joked.
“Bah Humbug,” I joked back.
Clare wrapped her arms around my waist from behind and kissed the corner of my lips. “Is that so?”
I chuckled and patted her arms. “Present time?” I asked excitedly. “Time to open presents?”
“You know it,” she said. “You have to go get the you-know-what from the garage.”
I turned my body around and grinned, “you mean we got it?”
Clare nodded, “Mr. Osbourne picked it up for us yesterday and hid it in the garage.”
“Did he take care of everything?”
“Did you give him a good tip?” I teased.
Clare leaned in close enough so that our noses were touching. She lowered her voice an octave and narrowed her eyes seductively. “I gave him the best tip a women can give.”
“A beer, huh?”
Clare pulled away and giggled. “Yeah.” She patted my shoulder. “Now it’s your job to go and get it, so GO!”
“Just lemme say hi to my little ones first,” I said moving her pajama shirt up over her abdomen. “Merry Christmas, babies,” I said leaning in close to the right side of her stomach.
“Are you done now?” She kidded.
“Yes,” I replied letting her shirt drop. “If I can stand up then I’ll leave.” I used the bed in order to help me up, my knee was still throbbing so I opted not to bend it. I put on my boots with the intention to take them off again within a few minutes, grabbed my robe off of the clothes hooks behind the door, and checked the pockets to make sure I had an old pair of slippers in there for when I got back into the house.
“Once again you are going to look like Ebenezer Scrooge,” Clare said. I laughed. Ever since I had gotten the red robe and matching slippers for Christmas when we first got married I wore them to open presents on Christmas morning. And every year since I started that tradition Clare said I reminded her of Scrooge on Christmas morning when the three spirits had shown him his past, present, and future and he was happy to be a part of the world.
“I have to put your presents downstairs before the girls wake up,” I told her.
“Oh, are those the ones hidden in that random drawer in your closet under all the pants with tags that are marked with ‘my soul-mate’ and ‘Mommy’?”
“Don’t worry,” she said cheerfully, “I put them downstairs already.”
“Note to self,” I said aloud, “change hiding spot. Snoopy-wife has discovered it.”
“Note to self,” Clare joked back, “Take husband’s presents from under the tree before he gets back. Then exchange them all for cash and buy whole new wardrobe.”
I growled at her jokingly.
“Relax Jor, I found your hiding spot years ago. If I wanted to see what you bought me I would have looked weeks ago.”
I laughed and shook my head. “Merry Christmas, Clare.”
She smiled at me from the bed where she was sitting on her knees, her stomach pushing out her pajamas. She never looked more beautiful. “Merry Christmas, Jordan Taylor.”