By: 1000th Ghost
"Just imagine making out by the firelight."
-Christmas of Love (How the Grinch Stole Christmas)
"Merry Christmas, Martha May!"
Three things entered her mind in a particular order. The last of these was that he had a bag on his head (which was, unfortunately, the only thing on their classmates' minds). The second was overwhelming gratitude and flattery for the gesture. And the first was that her name sounded awfully nice coming from his lips.
The smart thing to do (not to mention the right thing) was to prevent the malicious teasing that was sure to happen. But her mind was slightly fuddled, and she stood with an unfocused stare, thinking thoughts that had little to do with what was going on around her.
It was not as if she had not seen this coming ("this" meaning his gift-giving, not the teasing, although admittedly, both were predictable). When she had touched - caressed - his cheek the day before, there was not even the faintest charade of innocence behind it. It was brazen and seductive, and from his expression, it was obvious that its meaning had not missed him. She had always assumed that she was good at that sort of thing. She was Martha May Whovier, after all, the most popular, the prettiest, the object of every boy's desire. So, the brazen, seductive technique came naturally to her.
Not that she had known before yesterday. She had never tried it before yesterday. Had never wanted to try it with anyone but him.
Actually, things were going exactly as planned...sort of. She had made her intentions clear. He had returned the affections. Perfect, really.
Except that now the entire class was cackling uproariously at his shaving accident.
She mentally scoffed. Stupid children. Did they really think that they could treat Martha May Whovier's man that way?
Well, it was easily remedied.
"Thank you, Grinch." She was close enough to bend down and kiss him, so she did, a lingering peck on his damaged cheek, one eye turned meaningfully towards her pupils, daring them to continue.
He had been about to snap. To do something drastic like throw her present to the floor or maybe even throw the entire tree.
Now, well, clearly there were more important things than losing his temper. Like her lips, which yesterday had smiled at him and today were pressed to his hairy, greasy, smelly, cut-up cheek.
She ended the kiss with a loud SMACK! then tenderly held the angel with one hand, his hand with her other, and began to walk back to their seats.
A shocked whisper of "She's holding the Grinch's hand!" bounced against the back of her pigtailed head, and she whirled around.
"I'm supposed to hold my boyfriend's hand, am I not?" She stuck her nose in the air, the class expectantly shut up, and she sauntered to her desk, a bewildered Grinch in tow.
"So, I'm your boyfriend now?" The voice was quiet enough for only her to hear, but it still had the telltale signs of Grinchness. Skepticism, harshness, apathy. And underneath, a quiver she recognized as love secretly hoping to be accepted.
He was standing next to her desk, still holding her hand, rather refusing to walk to his own desk and relinquish that contact just yet. But she let go and trailed a finger up and then down his forearm.
"Don't you want to be?"
He wanted to say something witty and callous and instead he just gulped and nodded.
"Good." A playful smile, and she was facing forward, the model of rapt attention.
He had never even vaguely noticed her before the instance yesterday. Now he cursed himself for all the endless, boring schooldays he had not spent staring at the back of her dark-blond hair, the curve of her shoulder, the slenderness of her waist, the fullness of her skirt that did little to prohibit his mind from imagining what was underneath-
She turned around at his excited hiss.
"Would you - um..."
She batted her eyelashes, and he continued.
"Would you like to - to come over after school? We could-" Could what?! What was some - any! - activity Whos did?! "-make Christmas cookies?" he finished lamely.
Of course, he had to think of cookies, of all the revolting things. Oh, well, it would be worth it if he could manage to get a taste of her in addition to icing and sprinkles.
"I'd love to!" Her reply was a bit too enthusiastic, and the teacher "Ahem!"ed before continuing her lecture on the proper positioning of stocking nails.
The Grinch had never paid attention in school, and he didn't plan to start anytime soon. But there were other things much worthier of his studies. Such as the motion of her (his girlfriend's!) tongue as it licked and licked and licked that lollipop. She had a lollipop almost every day, but the sickeningly sugary sweet had never made him think thoughts like...these before. For once, he was glad of his fur for concealing his blush.
Another thing he could have noticed had he paid attention before: she stared at him. A lot. And not just fleeting glances or embarrassed side-looks ending with quickly turning away when caught. These were blatant and long and completely unabashed. He found himself coming to the smug conclusion that none of the pure, highbred Whos could handle her. She needed someone who was a What.
When the bell rang, she was the one who came to him. She did not want any danger of losing him. He still was rather erratic.
But he took her hand gladly when it was offered and left the school with a newfound spring in his step, aware but just not caring about the stares of the other children. Heck, why should he care? Martha May liked him!
"It's so sweet of you to invite me over! Are you sure your aunts won't mind?"
His aunts! Stupid, meddling spinsters. Well, maybe he would get lucky. Maybe they would be pleased that he had a friend. They didn't need to know how "good" of a friend she was.
"Of course, they won't mind! They'll be so happy to see you!" Being this cheerful was not the easiest thing he had ever done. But he was willing to put in a tremendous effort for her sake. "So...you...like me?" Not the most graceful statement in the world. But he was curious.
Martha blinked. "You didn't know?"
"Well, I know now." He wasn't an idiot.
"But I've loved you for so long! For years and years! How did you not notice?"
He was an idiot. Also, she had said "love".
"I-I'm not exactly 'boyfriend material' for anyone. Definitely not for you. No one's ever said they l..." It was a difficult word to pronounce. "...loved me before. Not even my aunts. It's not something I noticed because it's not something I would ever expect."
If she didn't know better, she would have said that a tear glistened in the corner of his eye. "If she didn't know better"? Other people would say that, anyway. Grinches didn't cry. She wasn't so sure.
She gave his hand a squeeze. "I love you, Grinch."
The reassurance brought a smile to his face, one of the rare ones she had seen that was not twisted or scheming.
When they arrived at his house, the Grinch practically dragged her to the kitchen. Maybe he could smuggle her out of sight before his aunts ever caught whiff of her.
But the only whiff to be caught was of the tray of freshly made cookies sitting on the countertop with a note that read
Out for a bit. Enjoy the cookies!
He really ought to be nicer to those dear ladies. Maybe break fewer of their beloved possessions.
Doubtful. But this was a fantastic piece of good fortune.
"How wonderful! The cookies are already made. We can do...something else." And she winked at him.
His heart - if he had a heart at all - stopped beating. Either that or grew a size, he wasn't sure which. But he was definitely sure that his heart was not the only body part that had grown.
"L-let's take the cookies into the living room."
If she didn't stop smiling at him, he was going to have a heart attack.
She had figured that her plan would work, but she didn't know it would work this well. It was rather empowering. She had thought that they would flirt for a while, and maybe in a week or so he would ask her to go ice skating or sledding or something. But, no, she was actually in his house. Just because she had wrinkled her nose at him, stroked his cheek in a certain way, and told him she loved the color green.
He set the tray of cookies down in front of the crackling fireplace. The light flashed off of the glittering, towering tree. Completely overly done, just like every other tree in Whoville.
It was lovely though. Christmas was her favorite time of year. She did love red and green.
She smiled at the thought of the angel he had given her, safely tucked away in her knapsack. It was so intricate; it certainly had not been bought in a store.
"The angel you gave me will look beautiful on top of my tree. Did you make it?"
He shrugged. "I wanted to try to make something as pretty as you." Immediately, he seemed to regret his honest statement and hurriedly reached down and shoved a cookie in his mouth. Immediately, he seemed to regret this as well. His face screwed up in momentary disgust, but he chewed and forced it down. "Um, it's...good. You should have one."
She chose a sprig of holly with red cinnamon berries and green sprinkled leaves. He watched as she bit the corner, smiled, and licked her lips. He continued to watch her in this way as she finished the cookie and then had another - a bell.
"You don't want to eat the cookies, do you?" she finally said.
"Oh! Well, I..." He hadn't realized that it looked strange that he was not eating. He had been too preoccupied with watching her mouth.
"I've seen you in the cafeteria sometimes eat the wrappers or the knives or only hot sauce. "
"I didn't think anyone noticed." Curses! He was going to lose her over something as mundane as his abnormal diet? "I-it tastes good!" he tried to justify.
He looked so worried that she almost wanted to laugh, but she refrained. He had the most delicate self-esteem she had ever seen. "I don't mind if you don't eat sugar and eggnog like everyone else. If you don't want cookies, then eat something that you do want to eat."
So he reached down, tore off a chunk of the metal cookie tray, and popped it in his mouth as effortlessly as if it had been a cookie itself.
She watched him eat as he had watched her, but her mouth hung open, and her eyes were wide.
He paused, another cookie tray piece halfway to his lips.
"How did you do that?!"she breathed.
He gulped. Her voice...she sounded so... He had never even thought about anything romantic until the day before, but now he would give anything to hear her talk with that voice. Maybe say his name...
"You're so strong...!"
And before he could either soak up the compliment or soak up her voice again, she had wrapped her dainty hands around his bicep.
It was incredible. There was not a chance that any other had muscles even a quarter as big or as well-formed as his were. Suddenly, she was the tiniest bit afraid of what he could do to her if he wanted to. It was a thrilling notion.
She released him, reached for another cookie, and he let go of a breath he didn't know he had been holding. He probably should say something or at least eat more or look at her, but everything seemed to be too complicated at the moment. The only things his brain could pick up on were the heat of the fire and the leftover feeling of her hands being impressed.
She turned to him. "Aren't you going to kiss me?"
Bold? Of course. And his expression was about the same as when she touched his cheek yesterday, so it was just bold enough.
When he faced her, his eyes were dark yellow. Carnivorous. Like a predator that had finally corned its prey and was moving in for the kill.
Which made perfect sense, she realized, because he was not a Who. He was stronger than any full-grown man in town, could not stand "normal" food, and was covered in green fur. He was as much beast as he was man.
It did not happen the way a first kiss was supposed to happen. It was not shy, it was not gentle. The tray was knocked aside, and she was lying in its place, his full weight pinning her down. When his tongue entered her mouth, she moaned into him, threw her arms around his neck, brought him closer, did not care how wanton she was being. It was about time she lived up to her reputation. What did it matter that they were young? He was an animal, and she was Martha May Whovier, and nothing but this would be right for them.
When he stopped his fervid kissing, his exclamation of, "Oh, Martha!" sent her pulse reeling and then again as his kisses restarted but descending. Down the side of her neck, his fur tickling her skin. Then in a straight line down the center of her throat, her collarbone, over the neckline of her school uniform. He did not make a motion to remove the material, and she was somewhat disappointed. He stopped, his face nestled between her newly budding breasts.
She was completely motionless. Then he moved over, caught a nipple through the thin fabric, flicked his tongue over it. She squeaked, and he repeated the ministration.
"Yes, Grinch, yes!" Moaning, panting, and his hand went to the zipper on the back of her dress.
"Oh, Grinch, dear, who is this? Are you working on a school project together?"
His head snapped up. His look screamed "I'm sorry!" and she gave him a positively erotic smile, indicating that she did not blame him for the interruption.
"W-we're wrapping Christmas presents!" he heard himself say.
Well, they were partially under the tree, anyway.
Ditzy, old dingbats. They had probably done nothing like this in their entire lives and couldn't recognize it when they saw it.
He sat up as their footsteps retreated, pulling her with him.
"I should be going anyway. Mother didn't know that I was going anywhere after school."
"I-I hope that you don't get in trouble."
Stuttering and timid again.
She laughed, placed her hands on his shoulders, tugged him forward, and kissed him with the skill of someone ten years older.
"I'll see you tomorrow?"
He picked her up in his arms as if she weighed as much as a pillow, took advantage of her falling skirt to brush a hand over her bottom, and smirked, "Oh, yeah, I'll see you tomorrow."
She giggled, hopped down, picked up her knapsack, and walked to the door. Always leave them wanting more was the rule, right?
"Martha, wait!" She stood until she felt her hand in his. "Can I walk you home?"
Oh, never mind the age-old rule. They were too different for rules anyway.