Here is Christmas Day in the O'Brien household - their first in Corbin's Bend.
By the time Christmas Eve came round the humiliation was all but forgotten in the O’Brien household, and a contented peace reigned between the couple. The excitement of Santa was the main focus. Ange’s bruises had subsided enough to just be a minor pain in the butt and Jim knew she wanted the whole thing erased from history. Carla was indeed snowed in and facing the prospect of a very lonely Christmas as without exception, every single resident was horrified at how she was prepared to bring the entire community under scrutiny in order to disgrace Ange.
On Christmas morning, Ange and Jim attended church for the first time since their arrival and were delighted to be welcomed from the pulpit by Father Henry and equally as warmly by the other members of the congregation. By the time they left, they were full of the spirit of Christmas. Maeve and Joe had promised to call around for a while as soon as they could escape, and Jim was thrilled to tell Ange that Sarah and John would be joining them. Ange decided to whip up a large batch of eggnog in honor of the festivities, lacing it generously with rum and spices.
The aroma of turkey and ham were already filling the house. The two children were running from toy to toy, but Jack seemed as excited by the boxes as any toys. He still had a problem dealing with the concept of Santa Claus.
“But Daddy, it’s Jesus’s birthday why isn’t it Jesus who gets the presents?” Ava asked for the twentieth time. Jim threw his hands in the air and looked fruitlessly for Ange to help him out. The front doorbell chimed, and he thought she must have gone to answer it but when it rang again he attended to it. He invited the Harshaws in and poured drinks for all, shouting for Ange. He felt embarrassed that she wasn’t there to greet their guests and even more mortified that he had no idea where she had gone. Maeve was keeping it all going, helping him cover up his awkwardness. Finally the back door opened and Ange came in, looking like the abominable snowman. As she entered, she shot Jim a look, and put her fingers to her lips.
“We can’t have Carla spending Christmas alone. She can’t get to Denver with the weather, so I invited her to join us.”
The room went silent for a couple of moments, but Ange filled the silence with chatter about the children’s excitement and asked a blissfully unaware Ava to show Carla the new painting set she got from Santa as she filled a glass of eggnog for her.
“What the fuck?” Jim hissed as he joined Ange by the cooker.
“I don’t want to have to pass a neighbor on the street and look the other way. She’s having a bad enough time of it. How would you like to spend Christmas stuck somewhere on your own, knowing the rest of the neighborhood were all spending it with friends or family,” Ange said quietly.
“She only has herself to blame,” Jim whispered.
“Come on, it’s the season of good will. Hank has been good to you and Carla’s just depressed. I above all people know that depression does funny things to you. Maeve tells me she’s usually a model community member. It was hard for her to come, be kind to her.” He downed another eggnog quickly and bit his tongue. Ange had a point about Hank at least.
Maeve, kind-hearted as she was, was desperately trying to make conversation with Carla when they returned and Jim took her cue. It wasn’t long before the doorbell went again and Kirk and Bethany were admitted, followed by Brent and Charmagne. If anyone was surprised to see Carla, they were wise enough to keep their own counsel, and act as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Jim helped Ange whip up another batch of egg nog. The party, it seemed, was only starting.
“That was a very decent thing to do. I’m proud of you, love,” Jim said, kissing his wife as he got her alone.
The next hour brought a steady stream of callers, all of Ange’s friends, showing support for what she had been through. Jim was struck by the kindness of one and all, not just toward him and Ange, but also toward Carla. By inviting her there, Ange had ensured Carla was forgiven, and Jim hoped Carla appreciated that fact enough to accept the hand of friendship and drop any animosity. It was certainly much more than he would have done if it was left to him. Dinner was a little more awkward as it was just Carla and the O’Briens, but the children provided plenty of pleasant distraction, and Carla left soon after the meal was done.
Ange walked her to the door. Jim was surprised to see Carla kiss Ange, and overheard her parting remarks.
“I didn’t deserve that. Thank you. I wish I could undo the past. You’re a remarkable person. God bless and happy Christmas.”
“Forget it, honestly. I’ve been there and done plenty I wasn’t too proud of. I’m glad you came. Friends?”
“More than friends, I will never forget you for this. It seems I’m indebted to both the O’Briens for the rest of my life.”
“Well, that was certainly an interesting day,” Jim remarked, smiling at the sight of his two children sitting on the floor, making a total ramshackle of the place, paper flittered everywhere. The excitement had been too much for them. It wouldn’t be long before they were tucked up in bed and he and Ange could finally be alone. He’d been dying to get his hands on her all day. She looked stunning, in a seasonal red dress and black high heels. And that lovely round ripe bottom was framed perfectly. He had visions of making her skin match the color of her dress. He hoped she was sufficiently recovered from her ordeal to indulge in a little play. He let his thoughts drift to wonderful things as he brought the children up to bed and tucked them in. They were overtired and excited and took quite a while to settle. When he descended, Ange was fast asleep on the sofa. He smiled, covered her with a blanket and set to cleaning up a little. The fun would have to wait an hour or two, but it was early yet.
Blurb: Exile to Unity, Corbin’s Bend Book Three
When their preference for BDSM becomes embarrassingly public, Angela and Jim O’Brien decide to start afresh in Corbin’s Bend, a community based on a common ethos of spanking, a place where Ange hopes they can belong.
Ange soon learns that in this new environment, Jim is not beyond chastising her with a good sound spanking as the couple face their past demons and try to recover the closeness they once shared. New challenges soon face the couple. Will their difficulties destroy them or can their move be what Ange initially hoped for, an exile to unity?
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