Three Parts Rum
by Buffonia

Dom knows that she only drinks enough eggnog to put the scent of alcohol on her breath. Everyone likes excuses for why they do the things they know they shouldn't. Dom understands this, so he never calls her bluff, just kisses a little rougher instead. He has his own excuses, after all. The holidays with Elijah's family make him crazy. You hear stories, how spending time with a mate's relatives, especially if they're American, can drive you a bit batty. It's true, at least for Dom, but not in the way that the storytellers intended.

Dom lives for their little make-believe Christmas. Glitter speckled cotton on the windowsill for makeshift snow, unconvincing against the backdrop of thriving greenery. Not even the multi-colored lights wrapped around the palm trees in the front yard are able to salvage a seasonal feeling in Dom. But he adores it all the same.

Just as he adores the way Debbie giggles at his jokes, blushing when the punchlines are only four letters and a dirty idea. Her age melts from her face with the flushed smile and Dom feels a rush of pride in how easily he can evoke a schoolgirl sigh from her. He does it just then, his thumb tracing her collarbone. She bites her bottom lip to keep quiet, almost like her parents were alseep upstairs rather than her fullgrown children. He kind of wishes that she didn't close her eyes so much.

They never make it to the couch, but it's probably best, as it would be harder to explain if someone woke up. Sorry, Lij, tripped over a stray present and landed clean on your mum. Funny as hell when her shirt fell off and her chest cushioned the fall. Pressing Deb's back against the sliding glass doors behind the plastic pine tree offers a sense of security, albeit false.

The glow of the tacky blinking lights is all that keeps the room from darkness, coloring Debbie's face in shifting patterns of pink and green. With her eyes closed, the twinkling rainbows of bleeding light must be all she sees. Unless she's picturing other things, but Dom dismisses the thought, not wanting to spoil the mood. Although he does tighten his grip at her hips, pressing into her a little more firmly, just to confirm she's still with him. He's satisfied when she murmurs his name between a hushed moan and one of her filthier requests.

A rebel branch tickles the nape of Dom's neck, softly ringing the tiny bell ornament that dangles midway on the limb. Fake plastic Christmas in Los Angeles, everything warm and damp. Nothing feels real, not even the night itself. Maybe that's why it's so easy for them, practically guiltless after one cup of nog. Tomorrow, Deb's smile will be lightly scolding and maternal in the presence of Dom's perverse humor. By dinnertime, they'll all be a family again, Hannah and Elijah lightly kicking each other's shins under the table. Perhaps it's pretense. But it's still tradition.


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