It Must Have Been the Mistletoe
A Jordan/Rafe one shot.
When he'd asked her to be his date – yes, his date; his words – to the Christmas party at Club TBD, she had known she should say "no". That she had every reason to say "no". The way that he had looked at her though - with such sincerity and softness in his eyes … plus, hearing the teasing, almost daring tone in voice… Well, she hadn't been able to beg off. She hadn't wanted to. Right or wrong, she was going to the party and while she wasn't sure what to expect, she knew she would have fun because she was going with Rafe.
The doorbell rang suddenly and her heart took to racing wildly in her chest. She had never felt like this and it was as maddening as it was amazing. She fluffed her wavy, carefully done curls and peered at herself in the mirror, wondering if she had overdone things. She wore a knee-length, red sheath dress and her lips were smoothed over with bright pink lip gloss. Her cheeks were flushed but that was not her doing. She was excited and – dare she think it? – happy and it showed.
The most obvious difference in her appearance was that she wasn't wearing her trusty glasses. She had ditched them for contacts and now, of course, she was second-guessing doing that. Rafe might think that she had read way too much into this simple invitation and –
Rafe was leaning heavily on the doorbell now, calling her name. "Jordan! Lady Boss, you home? You didn't forget our date, did you?" She smiled and grabbed for her purse. She didn't have time to second-guess this. She was going the way she was now and that was that.
Her heart hammered though as she grabbed her black wrap on the way out of the bedroom. She shrugged it over her bare shoulders and sprinted to the door. She nearly toppled on the way there – she hadn't wore three-inch heels in forever – but she managed to right herself in time and get to the door. She smiled brightly and a little nervously as she saw Rafe standing there. Wait –
"Your – where's your wheelchair?" She asked in a panic.
"Hey, calm down, Woman," Rafe said. "I've got a walker right here." He gestured to one at his side.
"Oh, okay… but how?" she broke off. "Seriously? That's beyond impressive."
"Speaking of 'beyond impressive', look at you, Boss," he said. "You sure clean up great." He looked her up and down appreciatively and she blushed furiously. She turned her attention to fiddling with her door keys.
"Still can't take a compliment, huh?" He said with a soft, knowing chuckle.
"Well…" She smiled and looked him over this time. He was wearing a thick white sweater, black trousers and the sexiest smile with a hint of teasing and promise in it. She shivered inwardly, finally managing to say, "You don't look half bad either."
Rafe laughed. "I'll take that… So you ready to get on the road?"
"Yes, but where's Pete to help you in case you stumble?"
"I won't stumble. And I made him stay in the sleigh. Okay, I threatened to fire him if he interfered."
"Rafe, you can't – Wait, did you say 'sleigh'?"
Rafe nodded. "Come on, I'll show you." He grasped the handles of his walker and angled it forward as Jordan locked up her apartment. She then walked beside him as they headed outside. Jordan held the door wide open with Rafe's help as they stepped out into the snowy night. Her eyes fell on the sleigh – sure enough, Rafe hadn't made it up. A huge red and white sleigh that said "North Pole Express" sat at the curb; two white horses positioned in front of it. Her fellow physical therapist Pete sat in the driver's seat.
"How did he manage to convince you to do his, Pete?" Jordan asked with a laugh.
Pete shook his head. "I'll never tell." He winked at Jordan and she smiled at him before turning to Rafe. He was leaning against the sleigh now, having opened the heavy door all by himself. She wanted to tell him not to over-exert himself but knew he'd pooh-pooh the idea so she just gave him a pointed look. He held up a hand defensively.
"I'm fine. In fact, I feel better than I have in a really long time." He gave her a sexy smile and it was all she could not to lick her lips in response. What was this fine man doing to her? Damn…
"Ladies first," Rafe said and she nodded and climbed inside. She knew he wanted to help her get in but this was enough. This was so much more than enough. He had done everything so perfectly so far. It was all magical. She felt a little starry-eyed and dizzy with all the feelings zipping through her.
Pete jumped down from his perch and came over. He helped Rafe inside and Rafe didn't fight him because he had come this far. He was only getting better anyway. Jordan was so happy for him.
Jordan grasped Rafe gently by the arms and lightly tugged him down beside her. She felt the heat of him through her dress and she shivered again, this time visibly.
"You cold?" Rafe asked with an easy smile. "Good thing I brought blankets." He gestured to a bag on the floor. Jordan picked them up and helped him spread two blankets over them. She smiled at him, a little sheepishly because he was awakening feelings in her she had truly never experienced with any man before. She'd never been in love –
Wait, you aren't in love! She barked at herself. No, no way. Yes, Rafe is wonderful and sweet and stubborn and so sexy but …
"Champagne for your thoughts?" Rafe asked and she realized he was holding a bottle out to her he had snatched from somewhere unseen when she was busy telling herself she couldn't possibly be in love…
Jordan laughed. "Is that how it works now? Get the person drunk enough to tell you their deepest, darkest secrets?" She nibbled her lip, realizing what she had just said. She was keeping a lot of secrets from him, actually. Ones that were horrible and wrong and disgusting…
"That's how it works," Rafe said. "Since you like your privacy so much…"
"Or you'll get me plastered so I'll tell-all?" Jordan asked. She should have been upset with him but she couldn't be. She could never stay mad at him. She smiled. "In that case, I'll stay sober."
Rafe feigned disappointment. "Okay, but one day I'm going to figure you out, Jordan Ridgeway."
"Go ahead and try," Jordan said cheekily.
Rafe chuckled. "Saucy. I like that."
Pete had climbed into the driver's seat and turned to look at them. "Alright, you two, let's get you to that party, shall we?"
Jordan and Rafe nodded their agreement. "Thanks, Pete," Jordan said and the man nodded at her before turning around and beginning to crack the reins. The horses whinnied and they took off into the night.
"Are you sure he knows what he's doing?" Jordan laughed as they zipped down the street.
"Well, he got me to your place from mine, more or less in one piece so, let's pray," Rafe said. He settled back in the seat and she felt his fingers lightly brush hers under the blankets. Before she could stop herself, she was locking her tiny right pinkie around his larger left one. She shivered as he turned a brilliant smile on her. His fingers snaked up to thread through hers and they held hands as they looked at each other. She wanted to kiss him. Yes, they had kissed before and it was really, really amazing, but she wanted more, more, more…
He leaned over and nuzzled her neck lightly with his lips. She shivered as he gently placed a kiss on her collarbone. He then pulled back and whispered to her in a husky, throaty voice, "I want to kiss you but Pete-"
He broke off as suddenly she was kissing him, surprising even herself – no, especially herself. Her left hand came out from under the blanket to caress his lightly stubbled cheek. His hands fisted in the locks of her golden hair and they kissed passionately. They were breathless when they finally came up for air. Jordan sunk back into the cushions of the seat. She had never, ever been kissed like that. Her heart was slamming into her chest and she thought she would be able to walk on air if she stood up right now.
Rafe was clutching his chest as if to say "be still my heart" and for a moment, she was worried she had overexerted his body but nope, he was immediately going in for another kiss and this one was full of tongue. Jordan clung to his body almost wantonly until then they heard Pete clearing his throat loudly and pointedly. She broke off, dabbing at her mussed lipstick.
She blushed as Pete looked at them knowingly. "Okay, you two crazy kids, we're here. Let's get you out of here so I can take my three hour break."
"Three hours?" Jordan asked.
Rafe tucked his arm around Jordan's lean waist. "Make it four, Pete, and not a second sooner."
"Aye aye," Pete said with a laugh. He winked at Jordan and then came around. He helped Rafe down and then Rafe held his hand to Jordan. She lightly grasped it and jumped down next to him. They said their goodbyes and thank yous to Pete and then headed towards the entrance of the club.
Will Horton saw them coming and quickly opened the door for them. "Hey!" he exclaimed. He noticed Rafe was using his walker. "Wow. No wheelchair."
"Yep," Rafe said. "And as soon as I can ditch this walker too, the better."
"Hey, don't push it," Jordan said but she was smiling.
Rafe nodded. "I won't, Boss," he said with a smile back.
"This is truly remarkable," Will said. He offered Rafe a firm squeeze on the shoulder. "I'm so proud of you, man."
"Thanks," Rafe said. He gestured to Jordan. "I have to give this lady some credit though. I wouldn't be here now if it wasn't for her."
Jordan blushed and Will smiled at her. "He's right. You've been great, Jordan. Now come on inside, you two, the party has just started and I know everyone will want to see you both."
"I doubt that," Jordan murmured as she spotted Kate walking by. Kate saw them together and turned up her nose, giving Jordan a haughty glare.
Rafe patted Jordan's hand as they moved inside. "This is your big moment," Jordan said as everyone's eyes in the place fell upon them.
"No, it's ours," Rafe insisted. "I wasn't being false-modest when I said I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you and I meant it."
"Thank you," Rafe said and smiled at her. Everyone was soon crowding around them and he laughed. "Here they come. Stay close. I don't want you to get trampled."
"I'm not going anywhere," Jordan promised and she meant it.
The party was in full swing as Jordan sat curled up by the fireplace, mug in hand, at the back of the club watching the flames dance in the hearth. Everyone had been so eager to see Rafe out of the hospital setting that they were mobbed right in the doorway practically. Jordan had stayed at his side, per his request, until Kate had walked over and started making snippy comments. Though Rafe told Kate to settle down and tried to walk away, Kate was of course faster and commandeered him into the nearest chair. Jordan had asked Rafe if he was okay and he had assured her that he was. Jordan had insisted then that he speak with Kate - alone. Rafe had agreed –reluctantly, or was that just wishful thinking? – and had been talking in low voices with Kate for the past ten minutes as Jordan sat in a plush chair by the fire, trying not to look over at them. She was afraid what Kate was going to say about her; but more afraid that Rafe might believe it.
She told herself to try to relax. Finally, she heard heavy footsteps moving towards her. She turned to see Rafe and jumped up so fast that she nearly spilled her cider all over her. She managed to avoid that somehow but her hands were shaky as she put the mug down on the coffee table and Rafe finished his long walk over to her.
"Hey, you okay? You're doing that jumpy thing all of a sudden."
"Yeah, I'm fine," Jordan said. She shrugged. "Why wouldn't I be? This is a great party. Thanks for bringing me."
"Of course. I wanted to bring you here and I admit – I wanted to show you off."
Jordan crossed her arms. "Sit down," she said with a smile that wouldn't stay away.
"Fine…Boss," he said and she rolled her eyes heavenward. Jordan pulled up a chair for him and he sunk into it. She took up residence in the same chair again and tapped her bare knees nervously.
"This is a great party," she enthused again. She was afraid of what Rafe was about to say.
"Yeah, it is. We established that," Rafe said with a little smile.
"Sorry. You know me and social situations …"
"You were doing fine – at least until Kate approached us."
"Well, Kate … She hates me."
"She doesn't hate you. She just … She made it clear tonight that she wants to be where you are."
"Oh … With you. But we're not-"
"It's our first date, Jordan," Rafe said. He held out his hands to hers and hers immediately came up to grasp his fingers. "Kate knows what everyone else here knows."
"What is that?"
Rafe smiled indulgently. "That I like you, Jordan. That I like you a lot."
"Yeah, oh. I kind of hoped you felt the same but –"
"I do!" Jordan gasped out. She drew a few curious stares and lowered her voice this time. "I do. I like you a lot too, Rafe." Her eyes locked on his and she couldn't look away – not for anything.
"Good. Because I'm – you're making me really crazy. But in a good way." He smiled at her and she blushed. "Kate told me she wanted me back in her life, in her bed to be honest too, but I told her the truth. I can't be with her when I feel this way about you."
"She got a little snide and I told her we can still be friends – but only if she respects the fact that you and I are going to see a lot more of each other. I know it's pompous to assume that-"
"No, I am glad to hear you say it," Jordan said. "There are so many reasons you deserve better than me –"
"Hey, don't say that. I have been better in every way for knowing you. We started this journey and I don't know about you, Jordan, but I want to see how it all ends up."
Jordan nodded and a single tear rolled down her cheek. She reached out to brush it away but Rafe's hand was already there. Her skin burned where his gentle, calloused fingertips touched. She leaned over then and grasped him lightly by either side of his gorgeous face. She then kissed him with everything in her and then some. It was the most amazing kiss and Rafe held her tightly as he could against his chest.
When they finally pulled apart, they felt many eyes on them. Will Horton walked by and laughing, he chucked Rafe's shoulder. "Leave it to this guy to be the first one to lure someone under the mistletoe."
Jordan and Rafe looked up and sure enough, mistletoe was strung from the rafters right above their heads. Rafe and Jordan smirked at each other and then burst out laughing as Will moved away. "We're making a spectacle of ourselves," Jordan said.
"Yeah, I know. Ain't it great?" Rafe teased.
"You're crazy," she said as she moved to him and snuggled up to his side, gently resting her head atop his shoulder.
He kissed her right temple. "Crazy about you," he whispered. She trembled and looked him in the eyes.
"Merry Christmas, Jordan," Rafe said.
Jordan grinned. "Merry Christmas, Rafe."