This post is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organisations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Christmas Eve had finally come and Wes was finally at the airport on his way to New York. He had told his family that he won’t be back till Boxing Day and his parents were really cool about it. His mom had always told him that Christmas was not really the thing of the Chinese. It would have been a different story had it been Chinese New Year that he was missing. His friends had all been chill about it too. Well, at least his best pal and greatest partner from school and now at work, Ty. He had only told Ty about his work commitments over the Christmas holidays as he was afraid that Jennessa would catch wind of his plan if more people knew and he would not hear the end of it.
It had been two weeks of craziness for Sam. The preliminary concept and planning for the Fall show was finally done and there was just the operations and logistics to have to be dealt with after the holiday season. Sam was glad for the break, even though she didn’t mind her hectic schedule either. She welcomed the work because it took her mind off her therapy sessions and of course off Wes. Wes was all she could think of after that afternoon at Coney Island. It was a great afternoon of course, and Wes was awesome but that was the problem. How could someone as awesome as that not have that special someone in his life already?
The meeting place was The James SOHO in New York City. Wes had deliberately chosen this small boutique hotel for its spectacular views of the New York skyline as the backdrop of its rooms and apt for the ambience that he was looking for.
Wes arrived at the hotel by 8:30pm. He was an hour behind time. He had hoped to arrive and check-in to the hotel earlier so that he could prep his equipment and the room before Sam arrived. But gosh, the traffic in New York was even worse than LA’s and he only managed to arrive at the exact time he had text for Sam to meet.
As the taxi pulled up to the driveway of The James SOHO, there was no mistaking her. Sam was wrapped in thick layers of clothing with a scarf that covered half her face but Wes would recognise her anywhere. Snow was beginning to fall and Sam looked even prettier with flakes of snow in her dark wavy hair and long curly lashes. Wes’ temperature rose by a couple of degrees despite the cold winds blowing at him through the open taxi door.
The bellboy had taken his stuff out of the taxi and was holding the taxi door open for Wes. ‘Are you at the right hotel, sir?’ The bellboy panicked as Wes seemed reluctant to get off the taxi. ‘My apologies,’ muttered Wes as he quickly paid the driver, got off the taxi and hurried over to Sam.
Sam had been shivering in the cold for the last twenty minutes. Her emotions had taken over her logic again and she had unknowingly been way too early. She knew she had been early because she had hoped that she could meet Wes earlier and they would have more time together. Sam recognised that lean, muscular frame that got out of the taxi, walking towards her and her heart skipped a beat. She had forgotten how much she had missed seeing him.
‘Why are you standing in the cold?’ Wes gently reprimanded Sam as he draped his coat over her and held her in his arms. His embrace felt so warm and Sam thought about how all that shivering for the last twenty minutes was absolutely worth it. Wes did not wait for Sam to answer and quickly led her into The James SOHO, towards the crackling fireplace that warmed the entire lobby.
They stood in front of the fireplace, warming their hands. ‘I was still wondering if you were really coming,’ said Wes as he looked longingly into her eyes.
‘I texted you for the room number but there was no reply so I figured you must have been stuck in the pre-Christmas jam.’ All signs of doubt were gone as soon as Sam’s eyes met Wes’.
Wes fumbled in his pocket for his phone and realised that it was out of battery.
‘Let’s go check-in first. You must be freezing.’
They approached the counter and waited in silence while the receptionist processed their room.
‘Merry Christmas, Mr and Mrs Chan, and welcome to The James SOHO New York. We have taken the liberty to upgrade you to our honeymoon suite and as it is Christmas, we will be sending up a bottle of champagne and some eggnog to your room in a bit. Merry Christmas once again and we hope you enjoy your stay.’
Sam was speechless and going to protest but Wes was enjoying it too much. Mrs Sam Chan did have a ring to it so he stopped Sam in time, took the room key and headed to the lifts with the bellboy in tow with the rest of his bags.
As they walked into the room, Sam was glad that Wes had stopped her from exposing their real identity. The room was gorgeous, decorated perfectly with pieces of local art, its furniture carefully curated in browns, greys and beige hues to match the skyline from its floor to ceiling windows, the room exuded such charm and new world elegance. Wes tipped the bellboy and as soon as he closed the door behind him, turned to Sam and apologised. ‘I’m really sorry for taking advantage of you like that but I think that little misunderstanding was totally worth it, what do you think?’
Sam couldn’t help smiling. Wes looked like a little boy at Christmas who had just received the best present in his life.
They stared at each other and at that moment, it felt as if the two of them were the only ones left in the world.
Before anything else could be done, the bell to their room rang and Room Service was at the door with the bottle of champagne, chocolate strawberries and two cups of piping hot eggnog for them.
Wes thanked the service staff and turned back to Sam once again, ‘this calls for a celebration, doesn’t it.’
Sam and Wes sat by the fireplace, sharing the eggnog, the chocolate strawberries, sharing stories about themselves over the past two months. Two hours had passed before they knew it and it was past midnight by the time Wes had prepped his equipment and got the room ready for his shoot.
‘It’s time,’ Wes looked at Sam.
Sam nodded and sat on the bed just as Wes had told her to, her back to the camera and she facing the window looking in the distance at the New York skyline.
Sam stared in the distance at the buildings with the Christmas decorations, then slowly unbuttoned her red and green plaid shirt, her Christmas shirt that she wore every Christmas Eve. She slipped the shirt off her shoulders and unbuckled her bra. She slipped that off too, revealing only her bare back to Sam, and the scars that reminded her of that fateful day exactly a year ago.
Wes stopped breathing for that split moment but his heart thumped faster than ever. He knew he liked Sam but judging by the way his heart was reacting, it may be more than that. And while his heart pumped uncontrollably, his brain stopped short and was unable to carry on allowing oxygen in. The scars on Sam’s back were agonizing. Not that he thought them hideous but he wasn’t sure how it could have been done by anything human. The scars covered her whole back and criss crossed without rhythm, like a painter who had splashed paint across his canvas. The scars also looked raw, still pink and still healing. How she slept on her back he had no idea.
Sam sat on the bed, her palms on her knees, unsure of where to place them. A light breeze came from nowhere that sent a chill on her breasts, causing her nipples to harden. She moved her hands to cover her breasts, awkward at the silence and the position she was in.
Wes’ usual banter and light chattering had stopped which made Sam very uncomfortable. It must be her scars, she must have scared him with them. She knew she should not have agreed to reveal them to him. They were still pink from the peeling and the chaotic look of it must be scaring the wits out of him.
Sam cleared her throat and asked if they could begin. ‘I hope I didn’t scare you but it’s healing and not as terrible as it was,’ Sam tried to ease the tension but she knew otherwise.
‘No, I think you look beautiful,’ Wes spoke from his heart. It was true. Her frame was small but strong, her silhouette curvy and voluptuous. She was neither fat nor thin, with just the right amount of meat, as his mother would say. Wes smiled to himself at the thought.
‘Does it still hurt?’
‘Not really, only when it’s about to rain. At least sleeping on my back has not been a problem for a while.’ Sam tried to keep her voice light-hearted but secretly knew that this was probably the last time she would see Wes again. Who wanted a girl with such tormented looking scars anyway and it was goodbye to all the beautiful back-less dresses that were so in-trend now.
Wes wasn’t sure what else to say to Sam for re-assurance. ‘Shall we begin?’ He secretly whacked himself for sounding so heartless. The girl will be confiding in him, for god’s sake. But he was clueless at that moment because all he wanted was to hug her so tightly that she stopped breathing yet he knew he needed to remain professional.
‘Shall we begin with how you met him?’
‘Right, it was the end of November and I had just been transferred here for the New York show. It was a last minute transfer so I got this crappy apartment under very rushed circumstances. The heater was not working so I was nearly freezing to death, and the building management had been delaying the maintenance works. I then had this ingenious idea of leaving my front door slightly open so that the central heating could come in, which obviously turned out to be the worst idea in the world.
It was my third night at the apartment when he knocked on my door. There were only five units on my floor and his was the one next to mine. He peeked in and said that he was just checking to see if the person living in was alright. I was a little shocked by his appearance but he had seemed so friendly so I let him in.’
Sam paused, wondering if Wes was going to say anything, maybe even yell at her for being so stupid but he remained silent.
Sam continued, ‘I was lonely in New York and his friendship had seemed so welcoming and so sincere. We began hanging out quite a bit and I was a little attracted to him. He was charming and handsome, I thought I was in love.
We were still in friend zone when I began to become uncomfortable around him. He would, with every opportunity, hug me for no apparent reason. I had enjoyed the intimacy initially but his hugs began lasting longer and his hands become uncontrollable.
It was Christmas Eve when it happened, this very same night a year ago. I had found it weird why he would rather spend time with a friend, me, than with his family. We were having drinks and I knew he was pouring way more for me than himself. I tried to pace myself but he was insistent.
Then…’ Sam could not bring herself to continue.
‘Do you need a break?’ Wes could feel her tears in her eyes.
‘No, let’s just get it over and done with. He started grabbing me and I had resisted. I had tried pulling back but he was uncontrollable. He blamed me for misleading him, insisting that I was sending messages to him to seduce him. I had tried calling 911 but he had knocked me out before I could speak to the operator.’
Sam tried sneaking a peak at Wes but could not see his face clearly from the shadows and continued, ‘when I next woke up, it was because of a sharp pain searing through my back. It felt like a thousand blades were being thrown at me and I thought I was dying. I was very lucky that the cops actually responded to my call for help and pulled me out of the trenches of hell before I reached the bottom of the pit.’
Wes didn’t realise that he had been holding his breath the whole time. He finally let go of the tight grip that had caused his knuckles to turn white when Sam finished relating her story, got out of the armchair that he had been sitting on and trooped towards the bed.
Tears were rolling down Sam’s high round cheeks, her arms wrapped tightly around her naked body. She could still feel the tight rope around her wrists, each slash of the belt landing swiftly and flatly on her back. She hugged herself even tighter, until a pair of strong, warm arms wrapped around her. She shuddered, not at the person but at the intimacy that she had so yearned for yet feared.
Wes could not control himself anymore. All he wanted to do was to assure her that all would be fine and he wanted to be the one to make everything fine. He hugged her from behind, hugged her so tightly and with as much sense of security as he could muster. The cloth between him and her bare skin was not thick enough to stop the reactions that he was feeling, yet anger had overwhelmed him, anger at the man who had caused so much harm on her, anger at the man who had taken away her innocence and her pride.
Sam could feel his deep warm breaths on her neck, the strength of his arms and the speed of his pounding heart in his rock hard chest. Wes moved over to face Sam, the anger subsided, the passion taking over. He gently lifted her chin, courage gushing through his veins, through his every single pore, and he kissed her. Not a soft gentle kiss, but a passionate one, one that ran deep into her so that she knew how serious he was about her.
As their lips locked in a hungry embrace, Wes’ arms began exploring her. His hands moved around her back, going over every scar that had been etched deep into her skin, trying hard to assure every single one of them that life was good now because he was there.
Sam was basking in the embrace that their lips were in, her soft breasts squashed into Wes’ hard chest and she could feel his throbbing hard-on even with his and her jeans between them. She could feel his hunger, and hers, from all the months they had been waiting for this day. Sam removed Wes’ grey t-shirt as he paused to catch a breath, while Wes tore off their jeans. Wes’ heart was pounding so loud, it seemed to echo through the room, but he could hardly slow down, lest stop himself.
Wes lay Sam gently down on the bed and nuzzled her neck. He planted soft kisses from her neck down to her breasts, to her belly button and stopped. He stripped off her pink and white polka dot panties and plunged himself into her. Sam was soft and silky and Wes slid easily into her, as if she was made to fit him and him alone.
Sam moaned at every kiss that Wes had planted on her. Each kiss sent a jolt of electricity through her and when he had entered her, she immediately knew that the waiting had all been worth it.