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 Tis the Season, Judah and Abigail
Abigail Petersen
Posted: Dec 14 2011, 07:31 PM



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Abigail stretched cat-like, her muscles screaming in protest at the moment. She was so sore, she thought to herself with a slight blush and a smile that only could be described as blinding. She just did not want Judah to see it. She slipped out of the bed, hardly needing the sheet thanks to how incredibly warm he was and headed to the bathroom. She grimaced at the rats nest of hair and smoothed it out as best as she could before knotting it up in a librarian like bun. She slipped back into her clothes from the day before, thankful that she had something other than the gorgeous dress to change into.

She went into the kitchen, quickly finding the ingredients she needed to make Judah an omelet with scallions, ham, and cheddar cheese. She crisped up some bacon and added a tall glass of milk, knowing that soon enough the smell of food would wake him. She set the table, making a smaller portion of eggs for herself and was just turning around to set things on the table when a pair of arms wrapped around her from behind causing her to yelp and almost drop the plates.

He steadied her with a chuckle and she put the plates back onto the countertop, immediately turning in his arms and resting her head against his chest as he hugged her. "Good morning," she said a little shyly and then shooed him to the table. She ate nervously, wondering what he would think of the food. She knew that soon enough she would be off to collect her things and take a shower and come back for... well whatever. She was not entirely sure what he had in store for them today or the next, but since she did not have to work, she was open to whatever he had in mind.

She blushed at that particular thought, knowing that whatever he had in mind might just lead them back where she just came from. She felt... odd. Amazing, but different. She thought, being a nurse and all, that she would not feel any different when this moment happened. It was a bodily thing afterall. And yet, she felt somehow transformed. Alive. She could never tell him that of course, he would think her idiotic or naive. It was the truth all the same.

"Just let me know when you want to leave," she finally said quietly, needing to break the silence.
^^^
Judah Abdel
Posted: Dec 14 2011, 11:26 PM


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Judah awoke to the smell of frying bacon. He was confused for a second, but then he woke up a bit more and remembered that Abigail was here. As the night flooded back into his mind, he couldn't help but grin, even as he swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood, slipping into a pair of flannel pants so as not to shock poor Abi. Regardless of what had happened the night before, he didn't think she was quite ready for the sight of him wandering naked through the house, as was his habit when Jacob wasn't here. He wandered toward the kitchen, moving quietly so as to get a chance to watch her work for a moment before he made his presence known. Abigail had already set the table, and was gearing up to move back there with their plates in her hands when he surprised her; his arms winding around her waist, holding her steady even as she jolted under his touch.

She set the plates back down on the counter, turning immediately into his embrace and laying her head against his chest. She murmured 'good morning', and though he couldn't see her face at the moment, he could plainly hear the smile in her voice....the wonder at the fact that they were here; like this. Indeed, it still amazed him. It had been months and months now that they'd known each other, and even since they'd been dating, though it seemed always as if no time had passed at all. She shooed him off to the table, following closely behind.

They ate in silence, and he could tell by the tiny glances he kept stealing her way that Abigail was nervous. She wasn't sure what she was supposed to say or do now, but honestly.....neither was he. Sure, Judah had slept with plenty of women....more than he'd like to admit to, all things considered....but it had never been important; it had never resulted in a morning after of this sort of magnitude. Even with Bayleigh, it wasn't until she came after him at almost nine months pregnant that they finally got around to that sort of thing. This was just....different. She broke the silence, asking him to just let her know when he was ready to leave, and at that, he could only smile quietly. "I wanted to bust a quick shower before we went....if you wanted, you could join me....then you'd only have to get your stuff at your apartment." Judah suggested with a slight smirk, certain she would never take him up on the offer.

"So....what did you have in mind to do today, anything?" He wondered idly, realizing in that instant just what today would be perfect for. They could get a Christmas tree, and then decorate it before Jacob came over tomorrow.
^^^
Abigail Petersen
Posted: Dec 16 2011, 12:13 AM



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Judah gave her a smirk that made her stomach flutter. She was beginning to get to know his faces, and this was the face of someone who had thoughts that he should not be thinking on his mind. Sure enough, he mentioned that he would like to take a shower before they left, oh so kindly offering to let her join him. She blushed as predicted by the grin on his face and she playfully swatted at him as she cast her eyes downward.


And then he was off on a different tangent entirely, asking her what she had in mind for the day. She looked up at him in surprise. He had asked her to call out, was she supposed to have planned something? Suddenly she felt entirely out of her element. " I um... I do not know?" she said more of a question than a statement. "I had not thought of it really apart from going home to freshen up and get a few things."

She smiled at him and then asked him, 'Was there something specific we need to do?" She was not sure when her alone time was up with him and suddenly the thought of Jake made her wonder if she knew what she was getting into. She loved him, she loved Jake. But what would Bayleigh think about this development? And then her job... this could be seen as a huge breach in propriety. Oh Abigail, why do you never think things through for yourself.

She took a deep breath, trying to banish away the gloom that was threatening what had been the happiest moments of her life. "Go... take your shower," she told him once he had finished his food. "I'll clean up and then we can go. She did just that, trying not to think thoughts about what exactly joining him in the shower might have meant. She blushed as she finished cleaning up and soon enough they were on their way, hand in hand to her apartment.

When she got inside she told him to make himself comfortable and she went and took her own shower. She packed a few things in a bag, not entirely sure what she would need. She dried her hair, not wanting to go out in the cold with this wet mess on top of her head. She brushed it out till it fell in loose waves down her back and then slipped into a pearly pink sweater and a pair of jeans. She personally felt like the jeans were a little snug, but the sales woman had assured her that they fit like they were supposed to. She tossed the bag over her shoulder and wandered back out into the living room, finding Judah buried in a book.

She stood there and watched him for a moment before crossing the small room to rest her hand on his shoulder. 'I am ready," she said quietly, knowing that this was a lot more that just putting a few things in a bag.
^^^
Judah Abdel
Posted: Dec 25 2011, 10:07 PM


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Judah studiously said nothing when she asked if there was something special he had in mind for them today. Indeed, there was, but he wasn't about to just give it up like that. Once they'd made it up to Abigail's apartment, she told him to get comfortable. She disappeared to take a shower, and he decided to take her up on her offer to make himself comfortable. For long moments he studied her bookshelf, smiling to himself at her eclectic taste in authors before choosing some beat poetry to pass the time with. He'd only made it through a few long rambling poems before she was reemerging from her bedroom. He finished the page he was reading before his eyes came up as she placed a hand on his shoulder. She had a backpack slung over her shoulder, and he found he couldn't help but grin at the sight of her in pants....and jeans at that. She murmured that she was ready, and he took her hand in his, pressing his lips to the back of it absently before he set the book down on the side table and stood up.

"Ready to hear my master plan" He asked her absently as he watched her slip on her wool coat and scarf. He waited patiently for her to nod before he spoke once more. "Well, I don't have Jacob again until tomorrow around lunch time. I thought, maybe, you'd want to spend the whole weekend with us. I thought maybe today we'd go out and get a Christmas tree and get it up at home before Jake comes, and then we could decorate it together tomorrow night. I mean....if you wanted to, of course." He asked hesitantly, suddenly afraid that she wouldn't want to be a part of all of this, though nothing in the past months had suggested such a thing. It was more, he figured, if he braced himself for the inevitable crash, it wouldn't be as devastating.

They stepped into the elevator, and Judah released her hand, waiting quietly to see what she'd say in response to his plans for the day. For long moments she said nothing, and though it was unsettling for him, he knew that was simply her way; his Abigail weighed each and every word carefully before letting them fall from her lips. It seemed that she had the gift of knowing their weight; and just how much it could hurt when the wrong ones were chosen. "I have all my mom's Christmas stuff back at the house...that was the only stuff I brought back with me besides my old baby stuff for Jacob." He admitted quietly with a sidelong glance in her direction.
^^^
Abigail Petersen
Posted: Dec 27 2011, 11:42 AM



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Abigail certainly did not miss the look n Judah's face as he took in her outfit. She blushed a little at the grin that curved his lips but she refused to give in to the urge to comment. She knew it would only serve to have him say something designed to make her turn crimson, and she would not give him the satisfaction... at least not right now. He kissed her hand and she smiled down at him. Could she possibly love him any more?

As she slipped into her coat and a chunky knit scarf she made herself, he asked her if she wanted to know his master plan. She turned to him with the question in her eyes and then he was telling her what he wanted to do today. She blinked. He was such a strange man sometimes. He had all but called her out of work himself and what he wanted to do with the stolen time was... get a Christmas tree? Abigail could not hide the smile of delight. She had never had a Christmas tree. She was not about to tell him that though, lest he think she was even more pathetic, but she never had.


She thought about what he had said as they walked to the elevator and it was only then that he let go of her hand. She felt the lack of warmth immediately, but she was not quite ready to speak just yet. She was kind of overwhelmed by the emotions going through her. She had never really had a Christmas. Not one by this kind of standard anyway. And with Jake here she was terrified of doing it all wrong. He told her that he had brought all of his mom's stuff and she could tell by the flash of sadness in his eyes that this was going to be hard for him.

"I think," she said after a long moment. "I think that your mother would like that very much." She took his hand again, needing the contact and moved closer to him. "Where does one go to get a tree in this place?" she asked him with a grin, trying to lighten his mood just a little.
^^^
Judah Abdel
Posted: Dec 30 2011, 10:49 PM


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Abigail finally spoke, telling him that she believed that his mom would like that idea very much, and he was struck suddenly by the fact that she was more right than she knew. His entire adult life, all his mother had ever wanted for him was a woman like Abigail; apparently she'd known before him just how badly he'd need this even-tempered woman to balance him out...balance his temper out. She spoke further, asking where one might go to get a tree around here, and he could only return her smile and squeezed her hand gently. "I think you're right, pretty lady, this would make my mom happy....more than you know, actually." For a moment he thought hard about where they might go, but finally it came to him. "We're not that far from the park; they sell them there...you think we can get a cab to let us tie a tree to the roof?" He asked in a teasing voice. When they reached the lobby of her building, he simply smiled once more and led her outside to hail a cab.

He knew that she'd know when he gave the address that they were heading back to his building, and figured that Abi would assume it was to drop her stuff off. That was only part of the reason though; he figured they could take his car to get a tree. It would certainly make getting it back to his apartment easier, since he refused to get a fake tree. They arrived at his building, and once he'd paid the cab driver, they were off again, moving through the lobby and up to his apartment, stowing her bag inside before Judah moved down the hall all the way to the big storage closet at the end. He carefully pulled out two big cardboard boxes, filled with all kinds of antique ornaments; ones from his mother's parents, and her childhood as well as his own. This year, he knew, they'd be adding Jake's first ornaments to this tree as well, and he also knew that his mother would be happy with the woman he'd found... the woman who was his perfect match.

Carefully, he carried both big cardboard boxes to the living room, setting them on the coffee table before going back for the tree stand. Once that was in place roughly where he wanted it, they were ready to go once more. "Shall we?" Judah asked with a grin, offering her his arm even as he pulled open the door for them. They reached the elevator, and rather than hit the button that would take them to the lobby, he hit the G button. The one that would take them to the garage where his car was kept. In his excitement to show it to her, it never occurred to him that she wouldn't know the movie. Finally, they reached their stop, and rather than speak to address Abi's questioning glances, he led her to his car, his grin breaking records now as he unlocked his favorite, though mostly unused, toy.
^^^
Abigail Petersen
Posted: Dec 31 2011, 03:06 PM



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Abigail got in the cab, figuring they would drop off her things and then head to wherever it is that he wanted to go in order to do this tree thing. She was not entirely sure how big of a deal this was in his mind, but to her it felt momentous. She and Judah and Jake, decorating a tree? Suddenly Abigail had visions of baking cookies and listening to Christmas music, most of which she had never heard before. But the image was so strong in her head that she almost had to catch her breath. She should not dare to think of such a strong family moment.

She waited patiently while Judah dragged one box, and then another out of the closet. She knew how important they were by the care he took with them and she smiled at the sight of such a strong man being so impossibly gentle with something- like the way he was with Jake. For that matter, it was exactly the way he was with her. Then he got the tree stand and put it where he wanted it, he declared them ready to go.

They got into the elevator and she looked at him in question when he pressed the button to take them down into the garage. He said nothing, getting this glee-like look on his face as he led her through the garage to a car. A... wow, a weird car. A colorful weird car. Abigail just turned her eyes to him and said cautiously, "It is um.... very nice?" she told him, it coming out sounding more like a question instead of a statement.

His eyes got big and he opened the doors, looking like wings as they seemed to fly open. "Oh my," she could not help but say, wondering what exactly she could say about something like this. She had never seen such a car. Clearly it was more than a vehicle to him, he stood beaming, his chest all puffed up in an endearing fashion that had her wanting to chuckle even as she was muddling through her confusion. Clearly she was missing something here.
^^^
Judah Abdel
Posted: Jan 1 2012, 10:30 PM


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When they made it down to the garage, and as they reached his car, Abigail's face became one of surprise and confusion. Apparently his excitement about this was all for nothing; she obviously had no clue about the reference. She cautiously told him that his car was very nice, but it seemed to be more of a question than statement. He opened the door for her, thinking all the while that now he'd have to make sure to show her the movie that this car was made famous by, but then she gasped, murmuring 'oh my' with such surprise, Judah could only chuckle. "You really don't get it, do you?" He wondered, slightly mystified. "It's from a movie, but I'll have to show you...it won't make any sense if I try to explain it." He told her before closing the door behind her before rounding the hood to climb in next to her.

He snapped his seat belt into place, waiting while Gail gasped once more, staring owlishly at the strange-looking interior of the delorean which was complete with the destination control pad and the flux capacitor, and at her reaction he could only smile. "You'll just have to wait and be mystified for now." He noted, even as he pushed her hair back behind her ear. "We'll watch all three this evening with dinner if you want." He told her with a sidelong glance and a grin before he carefully backed out of his parking space. Soon enough they were stuck in nearly gridlocked traffic, moving along slowly with Christmas music playing inside the toasty warm car, much to Abigail's delight. She didn't know the words, but it wasn't long before she was tapping her foot along with the music, her grin going from nearly ear to ear.

Finally, after nearly a half hour in the car, they finally reached a tree lot, and if the truth were told, Judah was nearly sad to reach their destination, so complete was his enjoyment to Abigail's reaction to the Christmas music. He found a parking space fairly easily, and climbed quickly from the car to open Abi's door for her. Once she'd climbed from the car, he took her hand, tugging her along with him with a light laugh, excited for this little adventure with her.
^^^
Abigail Petersen
Posted: Jan 5 2012, 11:52 AM



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Abigail tried her hardest to get excited about the odd car that was clearly the apple of Judah’s eye, but since she did not understand the significance of it, it was a little hard to muster up his level of enthusiasm. Clearly he understood her confusion, smiling in his way and explaining that the car was from a movie- one he would have to show her in order for it to make sense. He told her they would watch all three tonight if she wanted. There were three?, she wondered silently, merely nodding as they pulled out into traffic.

As soon as the car was in motion, sort of, she remembered why she did not own a car in the city…. We besides the fact that she never learned to drive. They crawled along as she listened to the music. It was Christmas music, she realized with surprise. Many of the songs she did not know, but some of them were sweet and comforting and she was surprised to note- mildly religious in nature. That thought was comforting to her. Her faith was strong even if it was not the faith she had grown up in. Some of the songs were funny and she found herself chucking as she tapped along to the music, thinking this was a most wonderful way to pass the time as they moved along slowly.

Finally, they reached a big lot full of different trees. He pulled into a spot and moved around to open her door for her. She could have gotten out herself in plenty of time, but honestly she liked that side of him and though she knew she was the type of girl who had made her own way on her own, she liked feeling taken care of, the way that she did when he did little gestures like that. He threaded his fingers through hers and tugged her slightly as they moved toward the trees with a laugh.

They looked and looked, Judah holding up this tree, and then that one. One was too fat, another too skinny. Since Abigail had no idea what kind of tree was perfect, she merely listened to Judah’s critiques with a mildly amused grin. They bypassed the small ones and soon were looking at trees that were ginormous to her. However would they get something like this home? She knew though, that Judah was determined to find his perfect tree and honestly, walking through the rows with the fresh scent of pine and her hand in his, was the perfect way to spend her time. On impulse she stretched up and grazed her lips across his cheek. He gave her a “what was that for?” kind of look and she just smiled and told him that he made her very happy, with a slight blush.

^^^
Judah Abdel
Posted: Jan 5 2012, 10:47 PM


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They scoured the tree lot for the perfect tree, all the while he kept Abigail's hand tucked securely in his. They bypassed a grouping of shorter, smaller trees, moving along until he found trees that stood seven foot tall at least. This was what he was looking for. Judah paused for a moment, looking at trees, and out of nowhere, Abi was there, pressing her lips to his cheek in the most chaste kiss ever. He could only offer her a baffled glance, then a grin at her response. More pleased than he could ever put into words, Judah pulled her along with him to check out what might just be the perfect tree.

He pulled the monster-sized tree up to standing strait, turning excitedly to Abi for her opinion. "What do you think, pretty girl? Is it big enough?" He wondered with a smile at the expression on her face. In truth, he could get away with another foot easily, but for ease of getting it home, this one looked pretty much perfect. Abigail nodded slightly, her eyes still slightly mystified and surprised at the size of the tree balanced in his hands. They found someone to help them; binding the tree up then dragging it to the front so that he could pay for it.
Judah paid for the tree, offering the bored-looking girl a smile before he grabbed up the tree in two hands, lugging it toward the car, his effort more for show than anything else; after all, what normal guy could lift a 7-foot tree with one arm? They reached the car and he gave Abi the keys from his pocket, asking her to please unlock the car and get the twine from the back. She did so, and he wasted no time in tying the tree down to the roof of the car. Finally, they were ready to go again. He waited patiently for Abi to slip into the car smoothly before closing her door and moving around to the driver's side. "So....dinner...what do you feel like?" He wondered idly, even as he slipped smoothly back into traffic; destination, home.
^^^
Abigail Petersen
Posted: Jan 6 2012, 06:02 PM



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Abigail could only gawk at the size of the tree Judah had selected. How would they ever get it home? Still, she voiced none of those thoughts, only nodding and then shaking her head in amusement as he asked her if the tree was big enough. Soon enough someone was there to help them, and they got the tree all bound up and pulled back up to the front so that Judah could pay for it. Abigail could not help but take a big sniff, loving that crisp pine scent. Why anyone would ever want one of those store bought plastic trees was beyond her. Who would pass up this?

Then Judah was grabbing the tree with both hands, hauling it to the car and Abigail’s breath caught at the sight of those muscles at work. She could not help it, Judah was one absolutely perfect specimen of the male species. She was so busy staring that she lagged behind a moment before catching back up. He asked her to unlock the car and get the twine and she took the keys from his hands and did as he requested. He got the tree on the roof and tied it down and after making sure that it was secure, they were ready to head back. He let her into the car and then went around to his side. Once they had started off again, he asked her what she wanted for dinner.

Hmm. Abigail had a very difficult time asserting her opinions. She was so submissive by nature that she generally demurred to the other person, letting their opinions hold more sway than her own. The problem with that was that she knew Judah and she knew that he would not let her get away with that. He valued her opinions as crazy as that seemed to her mind. It also made him that much more dear. Though it hardly felt like as much time had passed as it had, it also felt like it flew by and every moment since just made her sink more deeper into him. She smiled at him and considered his request like she did everything else that he said.

“What about pasta?” she asked him. “ I make a fairly good linguine tossed with some tomatoes and capers. Ooh, do you have any white wine? I make a pretty decent white wine sauce that goes excellent with the…” she trailed off, her face coloring as she realized she was getting overly animated about food and he was clearly amused. “Um… whatever you think is best of course,” she amended.

^^^
Judah Abdel
Posted: Jan 7 2012, 09:41 PM


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Gail suggested pasta; linguine more specifically, tossed with tomatoes, capers and white wine. She went on for a minute, in her excitement, before she seemed to realize just how animated she had become and closed up tight as a clam while her face flushed crimson. She then tried to push off his question, murmuring that whatever he thought was best would be fine in that demure voice that did nothing but annoy him. "No way, Gail...whatever you think is best." Judah informed her with a grin, even as he pulled over a few blocks from one of her favorite little co-op food shops. "We'll get the tomatoes and things fresh, hmm?" He wondered at her confused look. "We're only a few blocks from that little shop you love so much, so I thought we'd grab what we needed now and get it done in one trip. I've got linguine at home, but that's about the only piece of your little puzzle I've got." He informed her, even as he was taking her hand and helping her from the car.

"We'll grab the food stuff we need, then hit the liquor store on the way back through?" He asked, waiting for her agreement before they moved off toward the little shop. It didn't take long for Abigail to gather what they'd need for dinner, and after a quick stop for the bottle of white wine, they headed back for the car. Once they were moving again....or, moving as much as you can in New York traffic, at least, he turned on the radio once more, knowing that Abigail had enjoyed the Christmas music on the way to pick out the tree. Before he knew it they were pulling back into the garage under his building.

Once he'd parked the delorean, Judah moved quickly to pull open Gail's door for her, handing her the keys to his apartment, since he'd have his hands full with this monster tree they'd picked out. It took some doing, but he finally managed to wedge the tree into the elevator, and they squeezed in around it for the short ride up to his floor. Once they were there, he hefted the tree once more, and asking Gail to go ahead of him to get the door. "See? I told you we could get it home....I could tell by the look on your face back there; you had your doubts." He predicted with a laugh, even as he settled the tree on the floor to go find some scissors to clip the wrapping from the tree.
^^^
Abigail Petersen
Posted: Jan 8 2012, 10:58 PM



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Abigail sighed as Judah waved her off, telling her that it was whatever he thought was best, and honestly she could hardly find it in herself to be disappointed. She enjoyed cooking so much, and what was more, she enjoyed taking care of him. Abigail certainly did not have much to offer him, but she could offer this. Still when he pulled over she looked at him with a confused look until he told her where they were. She practically beamed at him because he got her so well. He knew how much she loved to cook fresh, he even knew her favorite places. She was such a mushy goner around him.

She sighed all over again and then went into the shop. Familiarity had her finding exactly what she needed pretty quickly and then they were off again, stopping only to pick up the wine before heading back into traffic, and ultimately back to his place. She hummed along with the radio, some of the tunes sounding slightly familiar this time though she did not know the words just yet. Before long they had pulled into the garage and she was wondering how in heavens he would get this behemoth of a tree inside the apartment. He let her out and handed her the keys.

She watched with some kind of awe as he wrestled the tree off the roof and got it into the elevator. She was wedged on one side and he on the other as they rode up with the scent of pine almost overpowering her senses. She went ahead an unlocked the door once the elevator doors had opened and he managed to get the tree inside. “Yes, you told me,” she commented with some amusement as he started clipping the netting off the tree. For her part, she went and set the groceries on the counter since they still had quite a bit of time before dinner. “How can I help?” she asked him, liking this little domestic moment far more than she should. He hardly even seemed winded, which was crazy given the size of the tree, but it was one of the many ways he amazed her. Heavens, but she loved him.

^^^
Judah Abdel
Posted: Jan 11 2012, 04:48 PM


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Abigail asked how she could help him, and he could only look up at her with a grin and a slight laugh. "Are you sure?" He asked, and when she nodded hesitantly. "Alright....first, I guess, you could maybe grab an empty 2-liter bottle from the recycling and fill it up with sugar and water? The sugar's right by the coffee pot, the funnel is in the drawer to the right of the sink." He instructed, smiling in response when she just smiled at his easy request. "Maybe on your way back you could also grab the tree skirt out of the top box? It's on the top, I think." He told her. Once Abi was safely off in the kitchen, Judah held the tree up with one hand, adjusting quickly until it was strait. Once he'd done that, he crouched down to tighten down the screws into the tree.

By the time she returned with the bottle of warm water, the tree was standing tall, and he was standing back a few feet, admiring this enormous beast of a tree that was now nestled in front of his huge floor to ceiling windows. He sensed her there rather than heard her moving behind him, and Judah automatically reached out for her. Once Gail was tucked under his arm "What do you think? It's going to be beautiful when it's all lit up and decorated....can you imagine it?" He asked even as he leaned in to nuzzle her neck, unable to resist the simple lavender scent of her hair and skin.

"You're so beautiful, Gail." He murmured, his lips teasing against her ears as he spoke. This is so...." He trailed off there with a slight shake of his head. "It's sounds so incredibly cheesy, but this is so natural....the having you here. I really could get used to it." He admitted, slightly sheepishly, unsure what her response would be.
^^^
Abigail Petersen
Posted: Jan 11 2012, 07:20 PM



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Abigail hurried to do as Judah had asked, quickly finding a bottle and filling it with a mixture of sugar and water. She was not entirely sure what the sugar was for but she bowed to his superior knowledge. On the way back she peeked into the box of Christmas items, hoping fervently that this tree skirt thing looked like what it sounded like, because she had no idea what a tree skirt was. After just poking around the top layer of the box she found something that looked like it could go around a tree and was vaguely skirt-shaped. She hoped that this was what he was looking for, because she did not want to look silly in front of him.

She felt like she had only been gone moments, but the tree was already standing tall by the windows. She hung back to admire it, but Judah must have heard her coming because he reached out for her and what else could she do but move to his side? He wrapped his arm around her and asked her if she could imagine the tree when it was finished and she stayed silent because truthfully… she could not. Apart from window displays and what she saw this time of year as she walked around, she had no experience with this. She honestly had no idea what it was supposed to look like, or what his idea of this should be.

She forgot all about those fears though when he leaned in and brushed his nose against her neck, the lightest of caresses but one that sent her newly awakened senses up in slow burning flames. He told her she was beautiful and she could not help the warmth that crept across her cheeks, even as she shivered at the touch of his lips against her ear. He started to say something and then shook his head. And then he started again, telling her that this was very natural and he could get very used to having her here. She was not sure what she was supposed to say to that.

Was he asking her to stay- permanently? She was uncertain why HE suddenly seemed to uncertain and she was not sure what she was supposed to do, how she was supposed to respond. So she leaned into him as she thought about what was the right thing to say. She absorbed his warmth and she knew that she felt exactly the same way he did, as scary as it was. She had never belonged anywhere, but right here in the circle of his arms, she felt like she was a part of something. “I… like being here too,” she said a little hesitantly.

^^^
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