Authors: Natasha Preston
Tags: #Christmas, #short story, #silence
2014 Natasha Preston
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Cover design by
Mollie Wilson at
MJ Wilson Design
Four days ago I
had the idea to write a Christmas short story for the Silence
series. Three sleepless nights later and here it is! Thank you so
much for supporting this series. Silent Night is a 7,000 word short
story showing Cole and Oakley’s Christmas day.
I woke early – at six in the morning – and
smiled. Today was Christmas
, and it wouldn’t be long before Everleigh would be up and
bouncing off the walls. She was always the same – vibrating with
excitement and extra loud.
This year was also special because it was
Bentley’s first Christmas. He was only six months old and wouldn’t
have a clue
going on. But I was sure he’d enjoy the lights, new toys to chew,
and having the attention of all of his family at once.
Cole slept peacefully beside me. Like every
morning when I was the first one up I took a minute to drink him
in. I would never, ever get over how lucky I was to have him.
Cole forgave me for leaving him
for four years. He was the most incredible man
, and I was honoured to call him
my husband. Of course, he said the exact same thing about me
because he was obviously a delusional fool.
I brushed his brown hair,
letting my fingers glide to the back of his head. Slowly, two
perfect blue eyes opened and
stared back at me.
“Good morning,” he whispered, pulling me
closer. “Merry Christmas.”
We curled around each
, and I
closed my eyes. I’d loved Cole for a very long time now, but he
still gave me butterflies and made my heart race. I didn’t ever
want that to end.
“How long do you think we have?” he asked,
sliding his hand down my naked back.
“Probably about thirty seconds.”
Everleigh was five and an early
riser. I didn’t mind because being woken by my little girl jumping
all over me was the best way to get up. Bentley was
a lazy baby and
usually only woke when he heard his big sister.
“Damn, what I had planned would definitely
take longer than thirty seconds. Although I can probably work
something with that.”
I snuggled closer, my face
pressed against his hard muscles and soft skin. It sounded very
too many times he’d got me all worked up then we’d have to stop
because a little voice was calling us. Spending Christmas sexually
frustrated didn’t sound appealing.
Laughing, I said, “We can do that tonight. A
After everything I’d been
through as a child I never expected to
anyone to touch me but when I was with
Cole he made every touch special. He made me feel safe, loved, and
like the woman I never thought I’d get to be. He gave me back what
I thought they’d robbed.
“I love you, Cole,” I murmured against his
skin. The words didn’t seem nearly enough for what I felt for
“I love you, too, baby.”
Mummy,” Everleigh called,
ley at the same time. His baby babble was the sweetest
Sighing softly, I kissed Cole’s chest and got
up. “We didn’t even get thirty seconds.”
Cole rolled onto his back, put his hands
behind his head and raised his eyebrow as he watched me get
Definitely, definitely later.
,” I said, giving Cole one last longing look.
My heart swelled as I left our room and set
eyes on our perfect daughter. Her big blue eyes lit up when she saw
me. Blonde ringlets fell down her back.
She bounced up and down on her bed, pointing
to the full stocking hanging on her wall. “He’s been!”
“I can see. Merry Christmas,” I said, opening
my arms for a hug. She bound off the bed and tackled my legs. “I’m
just going to get Bentley up, why don’t you go and see Daddy.”
“Okay!” she shouted and took off.
Bentley,” I whispered,
leaving her room pushing his door open. He always had a big smile
whenever he saw me or Cole. Or his grandparents and Uncle Jasper.
He’d pulled himself up
, so he was sitting in his cot.
Reaching over I picked him up and kissed his
head. “Happy first Christmas, baby boy. Let’s go see Daddy and your
big sister,” I said, taking him back to my room.
I couldn’t help laughing as I saw Everleigh
jumping on our bed with her legs either side of Cole. He’d tensed
up in case she fell onto an area he really wouldn’t want to be
“How about I change Bentley, then go
downstairs and get ready?” I said.
“Yes!” Everleigh shrieked. I thought that
would get her seal of approval. “Merry Christmas, Bentley.”
“First Christmas,” Cole added. “Everleigh,
let me up so I can pee before we go down.”
“Don’t wanna, Daddy,” she replied.
I left them to it, smiling to
myself and changed Bentley so we could get our Christmas
started. He watched
me, cooing as I changed his nappy and popped his elf themed baby
grow back up.
“Are you ready to open your presents?” I
said, kissing his button nose. He smiled in return, his two little
teeth just visible from his bottom gum. He was such a happy baby
and slept better than his sister, even now.
I picked him back up and perched
hip. “We’re going down now. I’ll call you in a minute.”
Everleigh squealed in
Cole said, “Okay.”
Look, Bentley, presents!”
I pointed to the piles and piles of gifts but of course he wasn’t
at all interested. Instead
, I put him in his Jumperoo and flicked
the tree lights on. That was when he took notice. He kicked with
his legs, making himself bounce.
Our decorations were all the colours of the
rainbow because when you’re five sticking to one or two wasn’t
That’s all you’re going
to be excited about this year, huh,” I said, bending down and
kissing his check.
Turning my head so I wouldn’t deafen him, I
shouted, “Okay, we’re ready for you!”
Everleigh’s footsteps thudded
down the stairs
, and I heard Cole laughing as he came down after
“Wow!” she shouted, eyes popping as she
looked around in awe. Bentley bounced harder, arms flailing. She
always got him worked up. It was cute until it happened too close
I think she’s excited,”
Cole said dryly, leaning against the
doorframe in just a pair of
Merry Christmas to me!
I made no attempt to hide my ogling of my
husband’s toned, muscular chest.
He lifted an eyebrow and smirked. I shrugged.
Cole walked over, gave me a kiss and bent down to see Bentley.
I’ll make hot chocolates
and Bentley’s milk
, and then we can get unwrapping,” I said, leaving
Cole and Everleigh to pull funny faces at Bentley. They all made my
I dashed into the kitchen,
filled the kettle up and switched it on. Our whole house was
decorated in hundreds of fairy
I wanted to leave
them up all year round, but Cole was dead against the
As the kettle boiled, I looked
over in the mirror that stretched the entire length of the wall on
the dining area side. Since I’d spoken up a
nd told the truth about what had
happened to me, I looked so much more alive. Even I noticed
in my cheeks and spark in my
Warmth hugged me, squeezing my
heart. The feeling of complete bliss wasn’t constant, I still had
that feeling was more often than the days I cried or reflected on
the awful things I’d been through. It was a battle that I
I was going to continue winning. My family were the best
I made the hot chocolate and
milk and carried them in on a Santa-themed tray. “Here we go,” I
said, laughing at Cole ruffling the kids’ hair. Bentley didn’t have
much after he’d rubbed it all off
, but it was so soft and wispy and as
blonde as mine and his sister’s.
Cole stood up, taking the tray and putting it
down on the end table. “Everleigh, yours are the ones in the purple
paper,” he said while he got Bentley out of the Jumperoo and gave
him his bottle.
“Can I open them now?”
“Of course,” he replied, holding his hand out
for me. I lowered myself to the carpet and snuggled to Cole’s
“Which one do you want to open first?” I
She flopped to the floor and looked around
overwhelmed. “Um… I don’t know. Which is the best one?”
“I know, I know, they’re all best. The big
one!” She grabbed hold of it and grinned up at us.
“Go ahead,” Cole said.
I picked my hot chocolate up as she ripped
her presents open and Bentley drained his bottle. Cole watched on
with the biggest smile. As soon as she was finished she’d want her
drink, too. Everleigh’s love of hot – warm – chocolate was as
inevitable as her love of ice cream. Those were the two things I’d
gown up on. Cole used to take me to a diner nearby when we were
teenagers to eat as much ice cream as we could before we felt
The diner was refurbished while I was living
in Australia after I’d told the truth and Cole had bought our
booth. It was so sweet and still brought tears to my eyes when I
thought about it. Even though I’d left him he still wanted that
I flicked the TV on to set it to a Christmas
songs channel to make the morning extra festive. Once Bentley was
done with his milk Cole sat him between his legs and handed him a
green wrapped present.
“Think he’ll just chew on that?” he asked
just as Bentley’s mouth opened and the edge disappeared.
Laughing, I took it out and replied, “Yep.
Let me help you, buddy.”
Cole and I watched Everleigh open everything
she had, stopping between each gift to play with it and take a sip
of her drink.
“We could be here for a while,” Cole said,
nodding as she started playing with the Elsa doll that took one
week and fifty miles to track down.
“I think so. We should’ve saved that one for
“Put Bentley down so I can give you your
presents,” he said.
“I like the sound of that,” I replied,
sitting him in the inflatable ring so he could sit and play with
his toys, too.
“Here,” Cole said, handing me a sack of
presents when I sat back down with his pile of gifts.
“Thank you. We open at the same time,
He nodded, staring into my eyes like it was
the first time he’d seen me – again. “Right.”
The kids were happily playing
with all their toys
, so we had a few minutes to ourselves to open ours in a
certain amount of peace.
We’d got each other the
bits we’d asked for. Clothes, my favourite perfume, a voucher for
the local tattoo parlour so Cole could get Everleigh and Bentley’s
name inked into his skin, and other bits.
I unwrapped a particularly revealing
underwear set, careful not to let Everleigh see it. Raising my
eyebrow at Cole, I ran my hand over the soft, white lace.
“For later,” he said, shrugging.
“This a present for me or for you?”
“You,” he replied, faking hurt. “Okay, both
of us.” Sighing, he added, “Me. I got it for me.”