Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Six: All I want for Christmas is You.

Callie stood in the shower a little longer and let the jets ease her tired body. She smiled as she wrung out the last of the water from her hair and killed the water pressure. She was finally home with her family when it mattered. She'd had nights like this before, more than she could count actually but it came with the territory but sometimes the odd case snuck up and was hard to shake. It all part of being human and she knew that. She wrapped herself in a towel, slathered on some body butter and padded back into their bedroom. The faint sounds of her children’s laughter and the hum of video games whistled up the stairs. She had a few minutes before she needed to be downstairs so she curled up in her towel on the bed, closed her eyes and dug her toes into the bed.

She was back in the Operating room trying desperately to save her, the machines shrieked behind her as she desperately tried to stop the bleed plugging more gauze into the open cut. There was just so much blood. She looked up at the girl lying helplessly at her mercy, her sunny blond hair peeking from the surgical cap and her eyes opened.

"Stella--God! NO!" She leaned over the girl's body to try and stop the bleeding; god anything but the blood soaked through her gown and covered her hands. She screamed and someone grabbed her wrists and was shaking her.

"Callie-you're dreaming wake up."

Her eyes burst open to find her husband's staring right back at her with his hands locked around her wrists. "Oh god." She panted letting the breath of air out as he let go and wrapped his arms around her.

"You ok?"

She nodded as she clawed the ribbed cotton at his chest. "Yeah I am now. Thank you."

He kissed the top of her head. "This one got to you huh?"

She curled in tight and wrapped herself around him while she let the terror dissolve in his arms. "Yeah." His hands soothed her back gently and she settled into him.

"The kids are otherwise occupied for at least twenty minutes as they started one of those marathon Olympic sports still need me?" He whispered against her ear as he pushed her down against the pillows.

She smiled up at him and cupped his cheek. "I'll always need you."

He held up his finger. "Hold that thought." He jumped off the bed and closed their bedroom door and quietly turned the key. He crawled back onto their Californian king and peeled off his top. "Can't have just one of us being naked now can we?"

She giggled and raked her fingers through her husband's soft silver chest hair. "Mmm no, you're always catching me in a towel too." Their noses bumped and he kissed her slowly the heat between them starting a slow burn along her skin.

"Yes, such a shame." She arched into him as he kissed down the long line of her neck nudging the towel away. When her husband's lips were on her skin nothing else mattered for those few moments. Her eyes fluttered as he kissed across her shoulder and down teh soft curve of her breast. He still had the ability to make her go giddy like a teenager under his touch even after all these years. His hand moved and cupped the other breast, his thumb found her hardened nipple. She groaned and stretched out under him as his tongue flicked over her tip sending shocks right down to the tips of her toes.

"Oh god." He kissed her hard, his mouth moved over her jaw below the sensitive skin beneath her ear. She was drowning, but she wanted to sink to the bottom of this pool of warmth and love.

One hand smoothed down over her belly and she purred as he found the sensitive spot between her thighs. His tongue on hers mimicked the slow circles his thumb drew causing her to shudder. She could feel his erection press against her thigh so she shifted her hand and cupped him. Her heart raced and her breath caught. She gave into the safe and sensual feel of him and the raw emotion that still on her surface. All she cared about was him and the taste of him only drove her higher. She clutched his shoulder, tipped back her head and cried out as the orgasm punched through her.

His hot mouth covered hers and she popped open the top of his fly. She dipped her hand inside and curled her fingers around his shaft, licking the bottom of his lip as she did so. He braced his hands on either side of her and closed his eyes as her thumb drew deliberate circles around the tip of him.

"Sweet Jesus."

She smirked. "Well it is Christmas after all."

His eyes popped open in but then they narrowed as he pushed her hair back. "You my love are evil."

She grinned and kissed his nose before she flipped him on his back. "And you my love still have your jeans on." She tugged them off and then straddled him, his cock bumped against her ass. He growled as she raked her nails through his downy chest hair. He reached up and cupped her chin and smiled. Those eyes could say so much without words sometimes or maybe it was just she was used to staring into them from time to time for the last twenty years.

She leaned over him and planted a kiss square on his lips but then let it bleed out into something that went from sweet to hot in a second flat. All the day's dramas swirled inside her fuelled her lust, her need for him to put it all right again. She slid onto his cock and he reached for her breasts as she started to move above him. She tipped her head back and changed the angle and let him slide deeper as she rode him. Pleasure washed away the ache as she let go on top of him, lifting her arms up above her head and letting herself pour out. She moaned his name and let it burn through her, brighter than the Christmas star on the top of the tree. She flopped forward and opened her eyes, her cheek pressed into his chest as she caught her breath. He cupped her ass, drew her in close and rolled her onto her back. He sunk deeper and wrapped her legs around his waist.

"Callie." He whispered as he stroked a tear from her cheek.

She smiled, finally at peace and dug her her fingers into his shoulders. "More. I need more."

He growled and fused his mouth to hers, the sweat slid between them and his tongue into her mouth. The sweet dark taste of him healed her, like it always did. She groaned as he went deep, her fingers fisted up into his hair. The slick friction of her nipples against his chest hair was enough for her to ache for him. Sometimes it felt like it would never be enough. He arched above her and he let go which tipped her over the edge with him. Her hands slid over his shoulders and over the muscles in his back as he settled against her.

They enjoyed the few moments of peace in each other's arms before she sighed and patted his shoulder. "Do we really have to do Christmas?"

He lifted his head from her shoulder and grinned. "Hey, having this here was your idea not mine!"

She laughed. "What can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment. It'll be nice having the family around us."

"I'll get you to remind me of that at about eight o'clock when everybody's drunk on egg-nog and my father's telling us stories from when he was in the marines again. He kissed her softly and then popped himself up off her.

She rolled onto her side and watched him dress before she did the same. The tiny knock on the door came just as she tied the drawstring her Capri pants. "Busted." She whispered as she unlocked the door. Her two children were standing side by side looking as innocent as hell, they wanted something.

"Yes? Can we help?" She folded her arms and waited while Jon did the same.

Stella jabbed Caleb in the ribs. "You ask!"

He poked her back. "You never get in trouble."

Callie chuckled. "What do you two mischief makers want?" She ruffled her son's sandy blond hair. He'd be a dead ringer for her husband one of these days.

"We were wondered if we could make waffles."

Callie raised her brow and shot a glance at Jon. "Hmm."

Jon rubbed his chin. "I dunno."

"Pleaseeeeeeee we’ll help clean up afters." They both chimed.

She laughed and looked at her husband. They both shrugged and then nodded. She scooped up her son in a fireman's carry and he did the same with their daughter. "I guess so!"

They both shrieked as they were carried downstairs into their spacious farmer's kitchen where as a family they made breakfast together. Callie was pretty sure more batter ended up on the floor than the waffle iron but it was the perfect way to start their Christmas together. The way a family was meant to.

The End.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Five: Please Come Home for Christmas

She killed the ignition as she came to a rolling stop outside the garage. Snowflakes splattered on her windscreen as she gathered her things and took a moment. She was relieved to be home but at the same time scared. Scared that when she saw the three faces of the people she loved more than life she'd fall apart. It was over, she'd finished her shift and now she was free. It was bittersweet as all she could think about was that she got to come home and hang with her family, see the joy on her kids faces as they opened their presents while the Phillip's family were going home to silence and grief.

She blew out her breath and tightened her scarf for the trek to the back door. The snow was heavy and the sky grey with the odd brought spot where the sun was fighting desperately to pop through. She jumped as her cell vibrated and smiled when she read.

Are you coming in? Don't think we're coming to get ya. Way 2 cold. Upstairs. J. xx

It was the push she needed as her family were inside waiting. She popped the door open and ran across the backyard, snow crunching under her runners. She dumped her bag and keys, stripped off her layers and jogged upstairs. She crept around the corner of the door-frame where Jon was in bed flanked by Caleb and Stella unaware she was there. Jon was reading them a story but stopped mid-sentence as his eyes met hers over the book followed by their children's.

"Mommy!" They both flew out of each side of the bed and made a beeline for her. She crouched at their level and held her arms out, the last thing she saw before she engulfed them both was her daughter's baby blue eyes sparkling brighter than all the joy in the world. She closed her eyes and sucked them in, the smell of their apple conditioner overwhelming her. Tears spilled from her eyes as she held them tighter.

"Mommy, you're holding hard!"

She buried her face into Stella's hair. "I know baby." They wriggled and squealed as she covered them in kisses.

"Mommy why are you crying? What's wrong?" Caleb asked as he ran his pinkie down her cheek.

She forced the smile, let them go and used the back of her hand to wipe away the tears. "Happy tears darlin'. Mommy's just glad she's home now."

Stella, god bless her daughter always had this sixth sense. "Did you fix the girl like me?"

The lump grew in her throat and she met Jon's gaze from the bed, he nodded. She stroked her daughter’s sunny blond hair and tapped her on the nose. "No honey, she was badly hurt and not even mommy could save her. She's gone to heaven for Christmas." She didn't lie to her kids and Jon didn't condone it either.

Her daughters face screwed up. "I hope they have presents there." She said thoughtfully.

Callie laughed and kissed the top of her head. "Lots and lots. I promise."

Jon stepped out of bed and pulled on his robe. "Why don't you two go downstairs and me and mommy will be there in a few minutes, and we can see if Santa brought us anything?"

Stella folded her arms indignantly. "Of course he did, why wouldn't he?"

Callie bit her lip as Jon shrugged. "I dunno, maybe you weren't good enough. Guess you'll find out when you get downstairs."

Both of her children's eyes widened before they stampeded down the stairs fighting who would get there first. Callie stood up and Jon simply stood in front of her with his arms wide open. "Rough night?"

She nodded as the room blurred and he wrapped himself around her as she fell apart. "I lost her. She laid her cheek on his shoulder as he tightened his grip around her as the sobs came.

"I'm sorry baby. God, I don't even know what to say. I can't even imagine..."

She shook her head and buried her face into his neck. "You're here. That's all I need." She closed her eyes and let her husband's arms wash away some of the weight off her shoulders. "That's all I've ever need." She murmured into his skin as she clutched the lapel of his robe between her fingers. She scraped her teeth over his chin and fused herself to his mouth. The aching inside her bubbled a she pushed him back up against their closet.

"Callie--whoa..." he cupped her cheek and kissed her softly but she wanted more. She needed more. If she could just touch him, if he could put his hands on her it would even herself out. She unravelled the ties of his robe and opened it. He grabbed her hands and stepped back. "Cal...The kids could come back in." She knew he was right but the desperation inside of her to be skin to skin was spilling over. She linked her hands through his and pulled him close.

She wasn't one to beg but god, she needed him like she needed air right now. "I need you but we have to wait." She hated she was so vulnerable but if one person that she could be around, it was him. She hung onto him and sighed. She needed her kids too and she couldn't let them wait, this was their day. She re-tied the robe and smoothed it down. "

He tilted her chin to meet his mouth and kissed her swiftly, dragging her in close. The kiss went from sweet to hot as she rose on her tip toes. Her fingers tunnelled through his hair as she changed the angle letting her tongue slide into his mouth. They groaned in unison as their lips parted but their foreheads pressed together.

"I'll find the moment. I promise." He kissed her nose and dragged her in for another bear hug and she sighed as she became grounded again. He always found the way no one else could and that's what they were always to each other.

"I love you." She patted his heart and he smiled until the corner of his eyes crinkled.

"Right back at you. Now c'mon it's Christmas!" He scooped her up in his arms and carried her down the stairs to cheers from their not so patiently waiting children.


He carried his wife down the stairs and Caleb and Stella waited for them. He settled her onto her feet and nodded towards the kitchen. "You take the kids and get settled in front of the tree. I'll get the coffee and croissants."

"God yes, please." She kissed his cheek as she led the kids away and he watched them all pile onto the couch on top of her. He had no idea what she was going through as he couldn't even pretend what it was like to lose a patient, let alone a kid on Christmas in her hospital. He'd known it was bad when he'd heard the car pull in as she didn't come bounding in like she usually did off a long shift pleased to see the kids and him. The fire in her eyes was gone as well, the one that rarely went out even with the longest days she had in the OR.

He poured two big mugs of coffee, topped hers up with her favourite Christmas creamer and carried the tray into the living area where the buzz of need-to-open-it-now was humming.

"You're a life-saver." Callie accepted her mug and sat cross-legged on the couch as the kids circled the tree like a couple of sharks. He snagged a croissant and grabbed the Santa hat off the large mantel. It was a tradition, head of the household dished out the presents, like it had been in his own childhood. "Ok let's see what we have here..." He picked up a large gaily wrapped blue and silver present. "To Uncle Matt... Nope, he's not here." He picked a smaller red shiny one. "To Grandma Richards...nope she's not here either. Man, I hope there are some for us under here."

He heard his wife chuckle behind him as his two children stared in shock as he picked up yet another one for Callie's sister and brother-in-law.

"Jon..." Callie said with a warning tone, he didn't have to look at her to know she was hiding a smile behind her coffee cup.

He stood up and scratched his head. "Are you sure you guys have been good, I can't see any for you?"

"Dad! What about this one?" Stella pointed excitedly to a big square box donned with a green bow.

He leaned in and squinted. "To, who is Sally?"

She tugged the sleeve of his robe. "DAD! It says Stella silly."

He looked again and grinned. "Oh so it does! Look at that!" He conceded and slid it his daughters way along with a matching sized one her brother's way. And so it began. Boxes, parcels, ribbons and paper went flying as his wife snapped pictures of their kids demolishing their presents. Dolls, accessories for the dolls, cars, a new game centre and various other holiday candy and trinkets littered the floor.

"Well hell is there anything else left under there?" he joked as he flopped down next to his wife and their piles.

"Nope I don't think so. Well done Santa... here's a little something for you." She handed him a slim line sliver wrapped box. He leaned forward and kissed her on the lips. "The gold one you might wanna open first." He winked nodding to her pile.

Jon opened the box which he recognized to be to be from Kenneth Cole. He popped off the lid and smiled at the classy chunky silver watch with a blue metallic face and platinum settings. “This is gorgeous Cal." He flipped it onto his wrist but stopped as the back caught his eye. Engraved perfectly were the words. "Time Stops when I'm with you." He closed his eyes and stamped down the lump in his throat. He met her gaze, which he wasn't surprised was shining with tears. "This is absolutely perfect. Absolutely us." He cupped her cheek and kissed her slowly until a round of ewws echoed from their children.

He strapped his watch on and waited as his wife unwrapped her box. She gasped as she popped open the ring box. "You like?"
"God Jon!" He'd had the eternity ring made. A platinum band with diamonds embedded in the band the entire way around it was smooth so was easy for her to wear at work and not too chunky. She slid it on her fingers and held it up. "It's stunning, so many diamonds...hell Jon..."

He winked. "I figured you just ought to know that you're not getting rid of me now. Ever."

She smiled through her tears, "damn. There goes that idea then. This is perfect. Best husband ever, god this is breath taking. It's so sparkly." Jon grinned. Woman and their rings, Callie wasn't traditionally a heavy jewellery kind of woman but the pieces he did buy her always counted and he was right on the money. Of course he'd also spoiled her with her favourite perfume and a selection of lingerie’s for his benefit too.

She slid up onto his lap and hooked her arms around his neck and they watched their kids play happily with their new toys in a simple moment before it got crazy again.

"I so need a shower."

"You should have a sleep babe, you must be exhausted."

She shrugged. "I'm good. I'd rather be here than asleep."

He kissed her forehead and patted her ass. "Go and have a shower now while we have a few hours and I'll set up the game centre and then maybe...just maybe..." his mouth found her ear. “I can find that moment I promised you while our kids are entertained."

Her eyebrow lifted and her pretty face finally had a true smile on it. "Well with an offer like that..." She slipped off his knee and ruffled her kids hair leaving him to assemble the game centre because oh yeah, he loved setting up new technology. Not. But hell, it was Christmas and his family was at home and they were safe. And that's all that mattered.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Four: Silent Night

03:59am Christmas Morning.

Callie walked the lonely corridors, her clipboard tucked under her hand and a latte laced with a gingerbread kick in the other. The Christmas lights in the ward twinkled brightly in the dimmed lights and over the beeps and whirrs of machines, the gentle hum of John Lennon's 'So this is Christmas' was floating from the nurse's station. Four more hours, four more blessed hours and she was free to walk outta here. Since her husband's conjugal visit, she'd received text messages from him and a few picture messages as he prepared the house for Christmas. The one of their children burrowed asleep deep in their bed hit the spot though, it had been the only way that Jon had got them to agree to some form of sleep. God, three more hours and fifty eight minutes seemed endless.

She'd just had the one surgery over-night, an emergency appendicitis. Cassidy's condition hadn't been all that great. She'd been holding with fluctuations in blood pressure and her heart rate had been declining. All of those things were normal after a massive surgery but Callie was being extra cautious in monitoring her. Cassidy's parents had stayed overnight and Callie had made sure the nurses kept them warm and fed as what a crappy way to spend Christmas. She checked her watch and as she was due for a break she slipped into the patients lounge nearby and sank into one of the arm chairs. The marrow in her bones throbbed from a long long week, hell a long year.

She was ready to trade in her stethoscope and thermometer for sand and surf. That was after she'd pulled off one of the biggest Christmas dinners in quite awhile. She'd had some of it prepared early between shifts. The rest of it was being catered and would arrive Christmas morning but she refused to hire any help to serve it. They deserved to be with their families on the day.

She flipped the lid off her latte and licked off the foam on the inside. Thank you god for a Starbucks on hospital premises and she was one of their most loyal customers. She snapped off her beeper as her hip vibrated and hauled herself out of the chair and down the corridor to ICU. Hospitals weren't for running but she took a safe bet at four am in the morning she wouldn't collide into anyone. She busted through the doors of ICU and into Cassidy's room where nurses bustled around while her heart monitor screamed.

"What happened?"

She tugged her stethoscope from her neck and plugged it into her ears. Her heart rate had taken a serious hike and her blood pressure was dropping faster than survivors on the titanic.

"She was fine, then she jolted and her readings went out the window."

Callie frowned as she quickly felt around her tiny abdomen. "Dammit, I think she's bleeding. Prep the OR and call Donovan in for me. We've got no time to lose."

The doors to her room swung open and Cassidy's parents stood, their faces white as sheets.

Callie gave her a quick injection to steady her heart and headed to the parents. "Mr and Mrs Philips, I'm going to need you to wait in the waiting area. I'm taking her back into the Operating room. I'm a hundred per cent certain she's bleeding in her upper abdomen so I'm going to need to go back in."

"But-she was ok just a minute ago...I don't-god!"

Callie took her hands in hers. "I know, she was but believe me the best thing you can do right now is to let us do our very best for your daughter. I promise you I will." She squeezed them and Mrs Philips managed a small smile beneath teary eyes.

"I know. Thank you Dr Richards. We'll wait."

"It's ok. Nurse, can you make sure they have coffee and a quiet place to wait?" Callie waved her to take care of them while they prepped Cassidy for surgery quickly. Callie needed to scrub up as soon as possible so she slipped out to the OR. To her relief Donovan was already in there scrubbing.

"Oh thank god. She's bleeding, I'm hoping it's not coming from her liver or we are in serious trouble if it's all the way up in her abdomen. Callie snapped on a hat and mask and cranked the water on.

"Got you. You did some repair in there right? What's the plan?"

"We cut from up down, I don't want to rupture the bleed going the other way. It'll be carnage otherwise." She blew out her breath as she centred herself. Right now all that mattered, all that was in her head was that little girl's body and how the hell she was going to fix it. She'd done it before and she'd do it again. She was fitted with her overhead light and glasses and went for her scalpel immediately. She made an incision and her worst fears were confirmed when her water blue surgical gown bloomed with red splotches.

"Oh crap."

An hour later Callie stood soaked in blood and the piercing sound of death was the only sound in the room.

"You gonna call it?" Donovan asked.

She nodded and looked at the overhead clock, the one she always dreaded to look at. "Time of death. 5.15am." She tore off her gown, stormed into the scrub room and sucked the air out of her lungs. There was just so much blood, so much irreversible damage. It was a wonder that she survived as long as she did, but hell. Parents had just lost their little girl on Christmas morning. It was how the cards fell sometimes and she'd been in this industry long enough to know that. You win some, you lose some.

And sometimes when you lost them, once and awhile one would sneak up and bite you on the ass. She thanked all her team with a small smile that resembled the ones her husband gave when he was doing interviews. Wished them all a merry Christmas and instead of escaping to go and fall apart she had to do the worst part of this job next. Tell the parents.

"You did the best Callie. Sorry we couldn't save her." Donovan patted her shoulder and gave it a squeeze.

She managed a small smile. "I know, it's just really bad timing. No surgeon in the world could have fixed that girl. God she was a mess-" Her stomach rolled and a flash of her own six year old daughter swinging in her arms wavered her for just a second.

"You ok?"

She held up her hand. "I'm ok--just overtired."

He chuckled. "I know and now we get to go home. Did you want me to come and see the parents with you?"

"No. I'll be fine. I need to do it."

Donovan nodded, "call me if you need me. Merry Christmas Callie." He kissed her on the cheek as he shook his hands and reached for the towels.

"You too, have a lovely day with your family." She waited until she heard the swish of the exit door and she was alone. The silence was sobering. No machines pulsed, no nurses hustled and bustled scurrying around after doctor's orders. Nothing.

The truth was she was overtired so it was bleeding into her emotions that she always locked away when she lost a patient. It's what she was taught to do, to be strong but empathetic not attach herself. She gripped the edge of the scrubbing tub and closed her eyes. God, she was six years old. What would she do if someone told that her and Jon's little girl was gone? She tried to stop her arms from shaking but the nausea rolled right through her. Goodbye Ma Bongiovi's soup.

She splashed some water on her face and pulled herself together. She needed to tell the family, they'd suffered long enough. She checked herself over and waltzed out into the corridor and down to the waiting area. Mr and Mrs Philips sat huddled in the corner of the waiting room. Alone. She briefly smiled as they stood with all the hope and expectation in their eyes shining brighter than the lights on the Christmas tree in the foyer.

"Dr Richards? Please tell us everything is ok."

Tears pinched at her eyes but she held her ground. She couldn't lose it for them; they'd lost so much more than she had. She shook her head. "I'm so sorry. We did everything we could."

Those words, so often spoken within these walls were never enough. Nothing ever was.

Mrs Philips shrieked and her husband bundled her in closer, his face stained with loss.

She proceeded to tell them the watered down medical reasons their daughter died, even though Callie knew whatever she was would be just white noise to them.

"Is there anything I can do?"

"God, my baby. She was only just a baby..." The sobs echoed through the morning that was about to break, about to give so many people a sense of happiness, hope and family. But not for Mr and Mrs Phillips.

Callie clasped her hands as they hugged, cried and ripped her own heart out. Life wasn't fair and this was one of these rare moments she wished she was anywhere else but standing here in this hospital.

Mrs Philips briefly moved from her husband and nodded, wiping her cheeks. "There is something."

Callie's wall of steel crumbled as the lady wrapped her arms around her neck and hugged her tight. Tears tracked down her cheeks as she hugged her back. It wasn't protocol in any instance but she took it. "I'm so sorry. I truly am," she whispered into her ear.

They stood back and Mrs Philips rubbed her arms. "You've been amazing Dr Richards. Thank you so much. Can we see our daughter?"

Callie nodded recomposing herself. "Of course, if you don't mind waiting just a little longer she'll be ready in a few moments."

"Thank you."

Callie explained what to do next and who to talk to once they figured out the funeral details and dismissed herself. Her heart was heavy and her head was pounding. She closed the door behind herself in her call room and sank down on the bed for a moment. It burned inside her like it had never burned before. She needed to go home, she needed her family, she needed to hold her baby girl and never ever let her go.

She needed Jon.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Three: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Jon ran his fingers lazily down Callie's back. He was by miracle, finally alone with his wife. He kissed the top of her head as she settled against him. It had been too long since he'd held her, listened to her breath and draw off her as his equilibrium. "It's good to be home."

She chuckled against his chest, her hair now wild and brown curls spilling down her back after he'd messed up her neat surgeon's ponytail. "It's sad that this is one of our homes. Well one of mine at least."

He squeezed her shoulder and laid back. "Don't you know by now, home is just where we make it."

She sighed and rested her chin on his chest. "You're so right. How are you doing anyway? Both feet back on the ground?"

Jon smiled and pressed his cheek against her hair and breathed in her scent. "Yeah, allergies are killing me but I'm doing well. Have the kids been ok?"

"Just the usual brats but yeah. Caleb had some trouble at school." She traced her finger through his chest hair. "You're gonna need to have a Daddy to son talk with him about bullies."

Jon raised his brow. "He was picking on other kids?"

She shook her head. "Other way around, it's minor but make sure you get some one on one time with him, maybe when we're at the beach."

He nodded and curled his fingers tight. "Sorry babes, of course." He didn't doubt his wife's ability to deal with anything that happened to their kids, hell she could single handily run the household on more than occasions and still do a fifty hour week at the hospital. But he felt a little sad. This was the hardest part of being away from his family, the times when his kids needed a Dad. He more than made up for it when he was back but there was always the odd sacrifice that they couldn't get away. Callie was tremendous in dealing with these times when they came, but it was just hard sometimes.

"I'll take him boarding one day alone. He loves that out there. What about Stella? All OK there?" He got daily updates from Callie while he was on tour, whether it was an email or a goofy picture message with what they did that day but unless she couldn't deal with waiting he got back they waiting until their debrief sessions, just like the one they were having now.

"Yeah she's an angel. Doing really well. A little stubborn, not sure where she gets that from though." He elbowed her as she bit her lip and her blue eyes went wide.

"Watch it," he chuckled as she stretched around him and buried her face into his neck.

"How was tour? Looks like you had a blast over there."

He grinned and closed his eyes, just enjoying the simplicity of them for the minute. "Yeah, the crowds were amazing. I hit a rough patch in the middle but came right pretty quickly. The humidity was pretty lethal up in Queensland, knocked me about a bit but we bounced back in Sydney. I even played your song." He didn't usually drag out Living in Sin if Callie wasn't there but every once and awhile...he just felt it.

He felt her smile against his skin, her breath warm on his neck. "I know. I had a voice-mail."

He raised his brow. "You did? From who?"

She chuckled. "Tony left me it. I was in the middle of an all-nighter; it made me grin on my break. Believe me. He always rings me if I'm not there and leaves the message with the song."

"Well shit. I didn't realize my brother did that. Anything else you've forgotten to mention?"

"I have coffee with David every Weds when he’s in town?"

Jon pulled back. "Seriously? How did I not know this?"

Her lips curved into a wide smile. "Just how I don't know you had a stripper party in Melbourne."

Jon's eyes widened. "What!"

She burst out laughing. "Really Jon. You need to give me more credit, I know all."

He shook his head. "I'll be damned. God help me if we ever did get a divorce all my friends would side with you." But that was Callie, everyone knew her and she was so easy to relate to. It was what made her bedside manner as a doctor an excellent one too, Jon thought. They were forever getting cards and flowers for her at the house.

She poked him playfully in the side. "Damn right they would. Good thing we don't have to worry about that huh?"

God he loved her. She trusted him completely and was completely comfortable with the lifestyle that they led. "Never, I'm not giving you up for anything." It wasn't a secret he enjoyed woman's company and occasionally he liked to look like any man did. Callie didn't have any rose-tints about that and he wouldn't ever betray her confidence in him, not after he nearly fucked it up all those years ago.

"Good. Sooo..." She walked her fingers up his arm to his shoulder. "Were they hot girls?"

He shrugged. "Blonde, big boobs...cute nice girls."

"They were hot," she confirmed.

He laughed. "Yeah they were. If I wasn't married..."

She yawned, "yeah yeah you'd bang them all night long. Duly noted."

"You gonna make it through the night there chief?"

"And then some, all through Christmas tomorrow."

"I don't know how you do this Callie. You amaze me. I mean that." He pushed back her hair and rolled her onto her back. His lips met hers and he tasted each corner of her mouth slowly. He lifted her hands above her head and she arched beneath him.

"It's my job." She murmured between kisses.

"No darlin, all of it. You do all this and still have time for everyone."

"We both do. It's not a one sided marriage honey. You bust your ass for this family."

"Hmmm." He was lost in his head, like so many times he preferred. Her fingers wound around his and she soothed the other hand down his back.

"A penny?"

He buried his face into her shoulder and shook his head, even through surgical soap he could smell his Callie. Buried in the woman he trusted, the woman he relied on to pick up him every day and do this all over again sometimes. He loved his life and he loved his job but it certainly wasn't always a bed of roses. He was tired, more than he cared to admit but that wasn't anything new. He needed some time to clear his head, and work out what was next. The tour still had a few big months next year but after that? Well... truth be told it scared him a little. Was it time? Did they just need a break to go and do their own things again. But if he walked away now, he'd lose the status that worked so hard for, hell that they all had.

He breathed out when his wife's fingers toyed with the hair at the back of his neck. "Time to relax Jonny. Turn it all off, you'll drive yourself insane otherwise."

She was right, as per usual. The only person that knew him better than himself was her and it was not always he freely agreed to admit that. "I brought some wine--well soda for those of us saving people's lives and some food. Hungry?" He laughed when her stomach rumbled beneath him. "That's a yes then."

He lifted himself off her and reached over to his bag and she scooped the sheet up around her and sat Indian style on the bed. She checked her beeper before tying her hair back from her face. Jon lifted the thermos of hot soup and sourdough bread from the bag. "I was sensible and brought you mom's vegetable soup."

She groaned, "Man that'll hit the spot. Just what I need to make it through. How was Matty's thing tonight?"

He grinned. "Good, kids are still there. I'll collect them on my way home from here, seemed the perfect time to come and visit when I had a house full of babysitters. We missed you though." He handed her a makeshift bowl of soup from their picnic kit.

She took a spoonful and sighed. "Remember all the presents are up in the service area so after they're asleep, move them down the service elevator and put them under the tree." She tore off the end of the bread and covered it in soup before popping it in her mouth. "Oh and remember the milk and cookies, and eat and drink half of them before you go to bed."

He laughed. "Jesus Callie. I swear you're worse than me sometimes. I'll do all that, all under control. Promise."

"I know, I just want it to be perfect for them." She lifted her gaze to his. "For us."

"It will be. Don't worry, just concentrate on what you have to do here. How did the surgery all go anyway?" He watched the sparkle fade from her eyes as she kept on eating.

"As expected. It was tough and gruelling. I don't know if I've done enough, I just pray she pulls through OK."

"Well she had the best at the very least." He squeezed her knee to a grateful smile in return. He'd head back to Matt's, pick up the kids then hang out with them while got ready for bed. Then do the Santa duty his wife had charged him with and crawl into bed. It was some kind of wonderful really, regular family stuff. He'd missed it. He checked his watch. "Want me to run down and get you a latte before you have to head back?"

She nodded. "That would be the best, I'll shower and get re-dressed and should still have twenty minutes to chat."

He picked up his coat and re-dressed himself before slipping out. When he returned she was dressed in new scrubs and her hair was neatly back from her face again. He put the coffees down and flicked on his portable sound system again and held out his hand. "Time for a quick dance?"

She smiled and hopped up off the bed and wrapped her arms up around her neck and leaned into him. "Always."

Their noses bumped and he tilted her head for a long slow kiss as he swayed her to the croon of Sinatra. Her soft body wound around him and he took her all in the last few minutes they had together. He kissed her, drawing her onto her tip toes as they danced. He kissed her forehead and rested his lips just above her ear as he tucked her into him. "I love you baby."

"I love you too J."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Two: O Holy Night...

"Eight hours and forty two minutes Doctor Richards."

She nodded, looped her last stitch firmly and held it while the nurse clipped it. "We're done." Her feet throbbed from being on her feet that long and her back needed some kind of miracle adjustment. "Well done team that was extraordinary. She's nowhere near out of the woods but we've covered a lot of ground." If ground is what you could call a shredded liver, mangled intestine and several internal bleeds and cracked vertebrae, then yeah. Holy crap this poor girl was in a bad way.

"We're going to need to watch her overnight. I'll monitor her obs every thirty minutes." She snapped off her gloves and threw them in the large bin.

"I can stay with her while you have your break Callie. You're overdue for it." She smiled at Donovan, her surgical assistant. She wanted to be pig headed but her feet were walking off without her and her eyes burning out of her sockets.

"That'd be magic Doctor Davies. Call me if ANYTHING happens." She was no good to anyone dead on her feet and she knew it.

She walked out through to the waiting room where Cassidy's parents were waiting eagerly for news about their daughter. She nodded and explained how difficult the procedures were and that the next twenty four hours would be crucial. She couldn't tell them she was certain she was stable, as just so much had to be done and repaired. She checked her watch as she boarded the elevator and craved for a hot shower and the two hour nap she most desperately needed.

She unlocked her assigned on call room, how times had changed. Usually she'd be fighting for a bunk bed in a crowded room but she was a senior surgeon now, it was like unlocking the door to the executive bathroom. A private room with a bed and a small en-suite waited where she could fall apart for a few hours. She grabbed her bag and headed to the shower. She washed away hours of intense concentration and intricate surgery as she thought about hearing her husband's voice when she called him before she went to sleep for a couple of hours. She wrapped herself in a towel and slathered some cream on her body that felt heavier than lead.

The distinct sound of Frank Sinatra whistled through the crack of the slider to the little room. That was weird, she didn't remember putting on any music. She slid the door open and her jaw fell slack. The room was dotted with Christmas fairy lights that twinkled and yes, Frank Sinatra was crooning about a White Christmas. She blinked away tears as there in the middle of it all was her husband standing there, waiting holding a single Christmas Lily.

His brow lifted and the corners of his mouth curved in a cheeky grin. "I figured I could be the one to do the house call tonight."

She was speechless. "What-how? Hell - I don’t care." She took two steps forward and wound her arms around his neck and melted into him. Their foreheads met and their lips met in a slow burning kiss. His hands drifted up her sides and around her neck, his fingers reaching into her hair. They both groaned as the kiss sizzled deeper, his tongue sliding into her mouth and their bellies bumped.

Their lips barely apart, she fingered the ends of his hair at the nape of his neck. "You know, this sort of behaviour is very frowned upon in these rooms."

His fingers curled around the top of her towel and peeled it away, his eyes drifting over her skin. "I’ll give them something they can really frown upon." His eyes flashed with a lust she’d seen all too well before. He brushed his knuckle around the curve of her breast, over her nipple until she hissed.

"Oh god," she sighed and rolled her head back. His lips claimed her neck as she felt each ache and pain of the day slowly begin to slide away. He turned her and lowered her back onto the bed, followed by the weight of him. She sighed as she curled around him, his mouth gentle but firm finding every spot on her skin that made her pop. Her fingers sifted through his hair, sun kissed and longer than it was a month ago as he found her breast. Pleasure was welcomed through her and the intimacy between them restored. Her heart wasn't prepared for how much she'd actually missed him this time around. It had been a helluva year, so it was heavy and full as they reconnected.

He curled his tongue around her nipple, tugged it in his teeth and her legs wound around him. She clawed his thermal up needing to feel his skin against hers and he pulled it up off his head before climbing back up her. Her nipples hard and sensitive, rubbed against the fur on his chest as he moved above her, and her toes curled as he devoured each inch of her skin. He flicked her tip with his tongue while his fingers walked up her inner thigh, opening her for him. The smell of soap mingled with his heady spice as he kissed down her navel. She gripped the pillow above her head and arched into him as he shifted down her body and closer to her centre.

She tipped her head back and sighed. "God I've missed you."

His laugh vibrated against her thigh before he draped one of her long legs over his shoulder. His gaze set on hers as he dipped down and took a long stroke with his tongue, shooting her into the stratosphere. He cupped her hips and lifted her, giving him more angle as he worked his magic. He slid two fingers into her and stroked slowly as she quivered below him. His tongue teased her clit and the muscles in her thighs clenched, oh yeah she was going to...

She gripped his hair and screamed her release, flopping back down onto the covers. She let out a deep breath and closed her eyes. "I needed that." When she opened them she bumped against day old stubble and her husband's warm skin. Her fingers traced down his neck as she kissed him with a sleepy sigh.

"You better not be falling asleep on me now."

She laughed and arched up into him and purred. "Wouldn't dream of it." The time with her husband alone was far too precious for that. She flipped them gently so he fell back into the standard issue hospital pillows and she straddled him. The head of his cock bumped against the crease of her ass as she slid slowly up his body, lying against the dampness of his chest. She nipped his chin and then licked the corners of his mouth until the kiss became full.

He watched with an amused grin as she licked the tips of his nipples before playfully flicking one. "Always hard huh?"

He groaned as she kissed up his neck and behind his ear, paying him a little attention he'd more than likely missed over the last few weeks. He shifted under her and slid her with ease onto his cock. Always impatient, always had to be in control. She linked her hands in his and held them on his chest as she moved above him creating a pleasurable rhythm for both of them. He stretched and filled her, pouring his strength into her that she'd been missing so much. It was how they worked, no matter how far apart their lives seemed sometimes when they came back together it was stronger than ever.

His hands slipped from hers and up her body. She closed her eyes, rode her husband and enjoyed the simple pleasure of his touch over her curves. He cupped her breasts, rolling her nipples under her thumbs. She moaned and tipped her head back, lost in the moment but kept them steady. He found her spot and she shattered around him letting go completely and utterly. He rolled her and lifted her leg over his hip, driving himself deeper. His mouth fused with hers and poured everything she had into him. Sweaty skin slapped and breaths hitched as he came closer, bringing her with him once again. She held his face as he came, pressed her forehead against his and followed him quickly, letting the slow burn of pleasure simmer in their bodies as they stilled.

They didn’t need words as she curled up into him listening to the sound of his heart thrumming underneath her cheek. She was strong again.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

One: So This is Christmas...

Callie tapped her iPhone and took a deep breath, this was the call she wasn't looking forward to making. Her fingers tugged on the waistband of her scrubs as she leaned against the cafeteria window that overlooked the park. A dusting of snow, lighter than icing sugar had begun to fall and started to settle making the view as picturesque as any holiday card.

"Hey." Her husband’s husky post tour voice tingled right down to her toes.

She pressed her forehead against the glass. "Hey, how are you?" The shrill of excited children split down the line which made her chest grow tight. God sometimes this job sucked.

"Slowly regaining my bearings, I miss you." His voice was low and soft. It had been pure bad luck that she'd ended up on a double shift from hell would take her right till eight am Christmas morning, she'd barely spent a night with Jon since he'd been home from Australia. Seven hours, thirty-three minutes and forty eight seconds to be precise. He'd stepped off the plane and had been ordered straight into bed as soon as she'd heard about the torrential downpour that happened in Sydney. Like the determined showman he was he sang the entire way through it and on the plane home had shown early stages of fever and chills so she shut that down pretty quickly. Of course in addition to this, it was Christmas so it was also a major military operation organizing and slotting in families over the Christmas holiday, both of their families weren't exactly on the small side but this year they had agreed to host the entire Richards and Bongiovi clan at their home in New Jersey at night.

She was absolutely crazy but on the twenty-sixth of December she was boarding a jet to St Bart’s with her family and going to sink her toes into glorious golden sand.

"I miss you too babe. I'm so sorry I haven't been there." Jon above anyone understood that this is what their life was and they made it work. Schedules were insane between them but when it was family time, it was family time. Lights out. She just hadn't expected to be tied up this close to Christmas.

"Cal its ok, am I upset that I've been back three days and haven't made love to my wife yet? Sure. But I'll get over it."

She sighed; she missed the taste of him, the weight of him and just being with him. "I'll make it up to you. You know I always do."

He chuckled. "So when are you coming home?"

She bit her lip. "Eight am Christmas Day. We're really busy. We had a girl, Stella's age come in and she's been hit by drunk driver and she's not in a good way Jon. I've got some massive reconstruction of her insides to do so it'll be an eight hour surgery minimum. I'm heading to prep shortly." She closed her eyes as Cassidy Phillips mangled body lay flashed in front of her, her parents in hysterics as they only were crossing the road with their daughter from some last minute late night shopping when the driver came out of nowhere. He was stable with a few broken limbs but boy she was going to need a small miracle to ensure that Cassidy would end up the same way.

"Oh babe, that's awful. Do you think she'll pull through?"

She palmed the glass to her outside freedom. "I don't know, it's just gonna be so...hard."

"Well, she's got the best, don't worry about us. We'll head over to Matt's as planned ok? Don't you worry about a thing. I'll get you Christmas Day and that's all that matters. Do you at least get a break between now and the end of your shift?"

Callie looked at her watch. "OK don't forget everything is on the bottom shelf in the fridge to take up there, I'll get a couple of hours to have a nap about ten tonight and then I'll be on obs overnight and any stand-by emergency surgeries."

"Good, try and get some sleep. You've already been there eighteen hours."

"I will. I love you." She blurted it out, she was tired. Dead on her feet and she missed her family.

"I love you too Callie. Call me later."


"Yes, I'll drive carefully. I promise."

She smiled. "Good. Give my love to our babies and explain why I'm doing this ok?"

"Will do, now go and do it my gorgeous doctor."

They hung up and she smiled clipping her phone back on her waistband. She couldn't wait to get home, she'd found the perfect gift for her husband who was the worst world's person to buy for as usually he just bought whatever he wanted for himself when he wanted it. He didn't believe in wish-lists, he believed in just doing it. So, she'd gone for the sentimental this year and of course they'd spoiled the kids as per usual. They tried not to so they'd learn the value of what they had to work for, but it was hopeless letting Jon Christmas shop, he always went overboard for his babies. Their babies.

She sighed and started to walk back towards the elevators up to surgical when her hip buzzed again. Seeing the home number she frowned as she answered. "Jonny?"

Her heart burst when her daughter's voice babbled onto the line. "Mommy?"

She blinked back some tears and slid into the wall of the corridor. "Hey baby girl, what's going on?" She wasn't usually this damn emotional but it had been a hell of a year and a crazy few weeks with Jon away on tour and juggling the holiday preparations, a very full work load and her children.

"Daddy told us you need to help fix another little girl."

She smiled as she heard Jon whispering in the background. "That's right, I do honey. So, I'm not going to be home until tomorrow morning. Mommy wishes she could be there tonight more than anything." Matt usually held a good Christmas Eve bash and the Bongiovi men would drink top shelf spirits and smoke a couple of cigars while the women drank schnapps and gossiped.

"It's ok Mommy. I love you."

Callie clutched her chest. "I love you too Stells. Just be good for Daddy tonight, you and your brother." God bless her husband. He seemed to know when she just needed that little something to get her through and tonight it was the sound of her kid's voices.

"Mom!" The bubbling voice of her eight year old son came on the line as there was an argument over whose turn it was.

"Yes my love."

"Daddy said to ask you if we could have ice-cream for breakfast when you get home tomorrow?"

Callie laughed, loud. "Jeesh. I can't leave any of you in charge huh? Hmmm. I suppose so. It is Christmas after all."

"Yes! She said yes Dad!" Callie checked her watch, she really needed to go and was thankful when Jon came back over the line.

She popped the elevator button. "I need to go honey. But I will tell you this much. You're so going to get laid when I get home mister."

Jon laughed. "Hell, one phone call from your kids and I'm gettin' lucky!"

"You know you what you did. I needed that." It's how they worked. Call it intuition but through the years they both seemed to always know when the other one was too proud, too strong to ask for that little something. She'd done it enough for Jon over the years and he was the only one that knew when to do it for her. Always at the most perfect moments.

"Ok, Cal, go kick some ass."

She smiled as she clicked her phone off and tucked it away as she prepared to walk into a very tough night's work. But having her family behind her was more invaluable in strength than eight hours sleep. She would see them later, but right now she was all about Cassidy Phillips and making sure she lived to see her Christmas.