All I Want For Christmas Is...
Disclaimer - Story mine, characters mine.
Picture - #1 (ice rink)
Margaret wonders, not for the first time, just how she ended up here.
Not in the grand scheme of things but here, outside, freezing her assets off.
Normally, such distasteful activities came with a price tag attached.
Then again, activities that usually required payment also usually involved nakedness at least, most times.
You wouldn't be able to tell just by looking at her. Margaret uses that fact to her advantage. Her tall form, sharp eyes and unmarred face don't give her away to be a What's the delicate term these days? A soiled dove.
Margaret never liked that term.
She doesn't feel dirty. And she surely is not a bird, just hanging around the edges of the city, looking for scraps and an eave.
But Margaret does not deny who she is or what she has done.
Years ago, like in a dime-store novel, Margaret fell upon hard times. It was eat or be eaten.
And a girl had to be tough, had to make quick decisions.
So, Margaret made those decisions, for better or for worse.
It wasn't always a bed of roses, but it has never been that bad.
Margaret might have been born the daughter of a scullery maid, but she always was the brightest girl around. A head for numbers and a powerful right hook, the girl cut out her path in the harsh world.
Each step took her higher, from decent Johns who understood Margaret's rules to the steady flow of the wealthy who liked her spirit as much as her body.
Would she recommend this line of work to any woman? Well, no, of course not.
There are ladies for teaching, ladies for marrying and ladies for damn near everything in this crazy world.
Margaret is in the checks business.
She provides a service and collects a fee.
And somewhere, out on this ice-covered pond, is Isabelle.
Isabelle is in the books business. That woman's head is full of words and pages and stuffy dinner parties.
It is a head full of politics and pretense.
A mind overflowing with conversation, always spilling over into everything else
Margaret imagines there are thousands of pointless chats in that woman's brain.
However, the snow is falling and Margaret catches a glimpse of Isabelle, shining diamonds in her burnt-blonde hair. So, Margaret skates closer, moving past happy couples and rowdy children.
They glance at her, the woman in a man's trousers, but soon let their gazes wander on.
There is laughter all around and someone lights up the lanterns, a nice cozy glow in all this coldness.
Isabelle keeps darting in and out of view, more like a dove than Margaret ever could be.
But Margaret is set on her quarry. She will not be distracted in this chase, this merry little romp of one clever whore falling in love with a bookish spinster.
Margaret intends to catch this bird. And by catching her, Margaret does not want to cage Isabelle, but set the woman free.
She has looked into Isabelle's eyes of grayish-green, seen the hidden want of something more than the usual life most women ache for, something exciting, something real and wild.
From that first moment in that opulent home, Margaret saw herself as that 'something'.
Not because of sex and not for sport Because they are more alike than one would think.
Isabelle cuts her own path, too.
Suddenly, they are face to face.
The snowflakes cling to the both of them. Somewhere, out there, is the rest of the world.
The friends that Isabelle talks to, the girls that Margaret takes in, the customers and the clients and the comrades All of them are out there, somewhere, this evening before Father Christmas showers the land with presents.
And for the first time in a long time, Margaret wishes like the little girl she once was for the gift of a lifetime, for one kiss from the lips before her.
"My brother wants you to attend our Christmas dinner." Isabelle states.
"Do you also wish it?" Margaret asks with a raised brow.
"Makes no matter to me. Just dress appropriately. Goodness knows I do not need the scandal like last time."
But they both chuckle some at that comment, because Margaret's outfit - while scandalous - also made the party a success. Such is the nature of the well-born people.
Margaret leans in close, catching Isabelle's arm before she can skate backwards.
"I'd like to give you an early gift."
Isabelle looks at her in that curious way that Margaret adores, the look that is all at once cautious and eager, a look that only Isabelle has.
"You didn't have to get me anything. Your presence is gift enough." It is said with sarcasm, which Margaret expects. And duly ignores.
"It is thanks to my great liking of you that I even thought of such a wonderful thing to give you."
Isabelle smiles sweetly, pulling her arm free.
"You've been trying to give me that "gift" for a while now "
Now, Margaret was not expecting a response such as that. It almost allows Isabelle escape, but Margaret is quick to recover. She pulls Isabelle back once more, a little closer this time.
"Oh, you can have that "gift" anytime you like, you know that." Margaret winks at Isabelle.
The woman rolls her eyes and mutters an 'oh God in heaven'.
"Free of charge, too." Margaret adds with a happy smile. As is customary of their interactions, Isabelle ignores this comment much like Margaret ignores Isabelle's more acidic comments.
"This gift did not cost a thing. And I've never given it before, so consider this a special occasion."
Before Isabelle can protest more, Margaret closes the gap and brings their lips together.
As Isabelle's lips warm and open just that tiny bit, Margaret promises to leave a thank-you note for Father Christmas tonight.
Story by: SPHEERIS1
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