Read An Underestimated Christmas (Underestimated 3) Online
Authors: Jettie Woodruff
This book is a work of fiction. References to real people, events, establishments, organizations, or locations are intended only to provide a sense of authenticity, and are used fictitiously. All other characters, dead or alive are a figment of my imagination and all incidents and dialogue, are drawn from the author’s mind's eye and are not to be interpreted as real.
All rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2014 Jettie Woodruff
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author.
There are so many people that I am grateful for.
Kristen Switzer for all the tedious, mind-numbing things she does for me.
I <343424234 U from here to a Mill-i-on moons and back.
To my mama and my daddy. I love, love, love you <3
To my grown kids who I wish would really grow up this time, and to their adorable little offspring. I love you, Bristol and Dallas!
To my husband who gets leftovers and ignored from me more than anything in order for me to do this. Thanks partner.
To all the dirty girls!!!!
Best friends ever. Hands down.
I freaking love you!
My beta team!
You guys ROCK!
I <4564498 U
And to all the reviewers, the readers, the bloggers, the pimpers, the teaser makers, and the fans who keep reading.
You keep reading and I’ll keep writing.
Merry, Merry Christmas <3
Table of Contents
Looking at Nicholas, I smiled the biggest smile ever. You would have thought we just bought our five-year-old son the Taj Mahal. Watching Nicky open a replica of the Tower Bridge in London was like watching his three-year-old brother open the SpongeBob racecar set. Both gifts got the exact same reaction. That’s how different our boys were. Nicholas could tell you everything there was to know about bridges around the world, and Tadpole could do the same with SpongeBob.
I sipped my hot cocoa and smiled at Drew. He smiled back and mouthed that he loved me. I responded with a small smile and looked away, back to Tadpole, sputtering like a racecar.
Before I get too far into this Christmas, I should go back a little and let you in on what we’ve been doing for the past few years. Nicholas just turned five as I write this. He’s something else, so smart, and I love him beyond belief. I wouldn’t want him any other way. Nicky is my little man, and I couldn’t imagine life without him in it.
Weston lost his given name before he turned one. Drew started calling him Tadpole when we couldn’t get him out of the water. Even our mailman called him Tadpole. The only person who used his given name was the receptionist at the pediatrician’s office, and me when I was mad at him.
Had someone told me two little boys, sharing the same genetic factor, could be so different, I wouldn’t have believed them. I would have called them liars.
I would love to write this and tell you our lives are candy canes and cupcakes, that everything has worked out like Christmas fudge. I can’t say that it has been easy, but I can say I wouldn’t change one second of it. Not one.
An Underestimated Christmas.
Sometimes you have to have the bad things in life in order to open your eyes to the good things you stopped paying attention to.
You would think that with everything Drew and I had been through in the past, it would be enough, that it was our time to be happy, and we were for the most part. Getting away from the city helped. Taking Drew out of the workforce did not. He had a hard time just being home. And although we were busy with two little boys, he missed it. As much as Drew loved being in flip-flops and shorts, searching for sea glass treasure, I think he missed the power of a suit more, and he still missed work.
This Christmas was the start of that downward spiral. Nicholas was three, Tadpole was sick, and mommy had a migraine. Our white tree glistened in front of the ocean view. Twinkling blue lights illuminated the room. Drew glared at me when I smacked Nicholas’s fingers for throwing a piece of ham across the table. I didn’t mean to smack him, especially in front of Drew. He and I disagreed on the whole discipline thing. Smacking his fingers was an unconscious reaction. I understood where Drew was coming from. I knew he didn’t want our children punished by physical contact. I got that. I was fine with that.
I had a problem with the nonexistent discipline.
Nicholas also spilled his chocolate milk all over my brand new white tablecloth that I had just bought for Christmas dinner. He threw a fit because Jason was in his chair at the table, and then he tipped his chair over. I was ready to make him go to his room for the rest of the evening. I was at my wits end with him and no matter how much I tried to tell myself to shut up and not ruin Christmas, it was growing harder and harder.
Between fighting with Tadpole’s ear infection, his fussiness, and Nicholas acting up, I was feeling one hell of a headache. Drew’s condescending look did nothing for my guilt. There was none. If he would get up and make him listen, maybe I wouldn’t be so stressed out with him.
Following me to the kitchen with a handful of plates, Drew cornered me against the sink.
“What’s up with you?” he asked with a hand to each side of me, blocking me from escaping.
“Nothing. I didn’t mean to smack him,” I said, trying to get away.
He stopped me with his arm and pinched my chin with a lift for me to look up at him. “Why do you do that, Morgan?” Drew whispered to my lips and then kissed me. “Sometimes I think you provoke me on purpose, like you want to be a bad girl.”
“And sometimes it has nothing to do with you at all. Not everything I do is about you.” I knew this was Drew’s way of telling me he wanted sex, not just any sex, he wanted Drew sex. Normally my lady parts would have been ecstatic about that, but not at the moment.
“Then what is it? Why are you so irritable?”
“I think it’s the pain.”
“Your head again?”
“Yeah, I’m okay. Let’s go clean up so we can open gifts with my parents. I’m ready to get this whole Christmas thing behind us.”
“You go lay down for a few minutes. I’ll clean up and then we’ll open gifts.”
“No, I’m fine. I’ll help.”
Drew spun me and walked me away with his hands on my arms. Some things never change. Drew wasn’t about to let me help. He walked me to our bedroom and closed the door. The cooler, darker room already made my head feel better.
“I’m only laying down for a few minutes,” I warned, not putting up too much of a fight.
“Fine, rest for a few minutes. Do you want me to get you a pain pill?”
“No, I don’t want to feel high when the boys open the gifts from my mom and Jason.” I couldn’t wait to see the look on Caroline’s face when she saw the easel and all the paints I bought her. She was turning into quite the little artist. Drew covered me with the soft quilt and kissed the L shaped scar on my head.
I closed my eyes and Drew left me when he heard Nicholas whining over something—again. I breathed a deep breath, hoping the new year calmed his three-year-old personality a bit. I didn’t think I could do another year like this one. If Tadpole were half as bad as Nicky, I would be on some serious nerve pills. I listened to Nicholas scream to the top of his tiny lungs over something and reached for a pain pill. I hated Christmas. It needed to be over with and everyone needed to go home.
Needless to say, things continued to be a little atrocious for Drew and me. The new year wasn’t magical the way it was supposed to be at all. It was hard as hell. We exchanged gifts with Celeste, Alicia and the kids on New Year’s Eve. And once again, Nicholas was the life of the party, and not in a good way. He was having a major meltdown because I had set Alicia and Celeste up in his room. You would have thought he would want to camp out in his daddy’s office with Vincent. He didn’t. He wanted no part of it. He went on and on about it—for hours.
“You better slow down a little,” Drew warned when I mixed Alicia and me another drink. I wasn’t slowing down. No way. I didn’t get to see Alicia as much as I would have liked to, and we had a plan. A plan to get good and drunk. We just wished our significant others would go away so we could vent about them.
“I’m fine. You know we’re going to have Nicholas between us tonight, don’t you?” I asked Drew, derailing an argument. We didn’t need to talk about how much I was drinking. It was irrelevant and I was getting drunk.
“He’s really upset about giving up his bed.”
“I know. And that is all you,” I nodded toward Tadpole calling out from his evening nap. He never cried, not unless he had a reason to. Thank god. I don’t think I could have handled two like Nicky.
“Slow down, and if he’s messy, you’re cleaning it. I did the last one.”
“You liar,” I argued with a kiss. Drew did everything he could to get out of the stinky diapers. Dirty diapers didn’t bother me like they did Drew, therefore he got out of it—a lot.
“Can I talk to you for a second?” Celeste asked, taking Drew’s place in the kitchen.
“Sure, what’s up?” I asked, confused. She looked so serious.
“I was just wondering if you’ve talked to the doctor about Nicholas.”
“Talk to the doctor? What do you mean? He’s not sick.”
“No, I didn’t mean it that way. Like his behavior.”
“His behavior? He’s three, Celeste.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right. So are you excited about Los Angeles?”
“Um, never mind. I’m just going to go back outside with my wife and quit shoving my foot in my mouth.”
“Oh no,” I countered, pulling on the back of Celeste’s red sweater. “Spill,” I demanded. She knew something I didn’t know. Something that had to do with me.
“No, it’s not my place to tell. Forget I said anything.”
“Celeste, you can’t do that. Tell me what you know.”
“I don’t know anything. All I know is Drew bought a jewelry store there.”
“You own a jewelry store there. Why would he do that?” I didn’t understand what she was saying.
“Not anymore. I’m trying to cut back on my traveling. Alicia is ready to kill me for being gone all the time and leaving her with the kids.”
“Drew bought a store from you?”
“Well, he bought it back. It’s the one in Beverly Hills that he owned before.”
“That’s great,” I sarcastically replied.
“Please don’t tell Drew I told you. I didn’t know you were kept in the dark.”
“When did he do this?”
“September, but we just finished the paperwork in November.”
“Oh, so my husband has been lying to me for four months.”
“God, I’m such an idiot. I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it. Here. Drink this.” I smiled, letting her off the hook with a shot of straight Tequila.
“What the hell are you doing, Morgan?” Drew asked, entering the kitchen at precisely the same moment I swallowed my shot. I poured another one, but Drew took it from my hand.
“Celeste?” Drew questioned, wanting to avoid drama in front of our guest. Drew was crazy if he thought I was about to listen to him nag me about drinking. Fat chance. Tadpole leaped from Drew’s arms to mine and I kissed his chubby little cheeks. Celeste handed me her shot glass and left the thick-aired room. I used her shot glass and poured another shot of tequila. Downing my shot with my son in my arms, I started to feel the effects. Good. That’s what I was going for. Although, I probably should have not taken the pain pill.
“What the hell are you doing?” Drew interrogated with grimaced eyebrows.
“I’m getting drunk with Alicia. You should go away with Celeste so we can talk about you.”
“Why do you want to do that?”
“Because, it’s what we do when you guys are not around. We bitch about our lives.”
“What’s wrong with your life?”
“Oh, you know. I have a three-year-old in there whining about something that you could go take care of, Tadpole is on his third bottle of antibiotics and his ear still hurts, oh, and my husband bought a fucking store in California,” I tossed in with a gritted-teeth whisper and a livid expression. Drew looked like I had just knocked the wind out of him. He wasn’t sure what to say.
“I was going to tell you, Morgan.”
“Yeah, after you did it.”
“I can’t sit around this house anymore. I need to do something.”
“Have fun,” I offered, taking the bottle and walking past him. Of course, he didn’t let me go. First, he took the bottle, and then he took Tadpole when I stumbled a bit. That was probably a smart move.
Drew towered over me with a stern look, the one that used to scare me at one time. “We’ll talk about this when we don’t have company. You’ve had enough.” I wasn’t scared this time. I was drunk and pissed off. Who buys a store in another state on the other side of the country without discussing it with their spouse? Drew fucking Kelley. That’s who.
I spun his shoulder with mine, glaring daggers as I passed. Alicia had peach schnapps on the deck. I would just drink hers.
Drew and I never spoke again. I engaged in conversation with Celeste, Alicia, Vincent, Christina, and my own boys, but not him. He stepped way out of bounds with this one and I wasn’t letting it go. I was pissed. Pissed and drunk. And I wasn’t moving to Los Angeles.
Celeste took care of putting her kids down for the night, and Drew took care of our boys. Nicholas ended up falling asleep in Drew’s arms on the couch. He was still going on about how he needed to sleep in his bed. Right up to the time when he finally conked out. That was where he was supposed to sleep, and he wasn’t about to drop it. Thank god my husband was a hands-on kind of dad. I would have lost my mind had he left me to deal with both boys. I hate to sound ungrateful, because I’m not. I love both of my boys to the moon and back. This was just one of those days I would have given them away for a dollar a piece. All three of them.
Alicia and I slurred drunk complaints about our lives to each other. I listened to her complain about Celeste never being home to help with anything, the mansion that she hated living in, Christina’s battle to get off the breast, and their lack of sex. She did the same with me, listening to me grumble about my own problems. Of course, my main complaint was how Drew could just go buy a store without telling me.
I lifted the covers to Nicholas’s neck and kissed his little head once Alicia and I were good and drunk, finally finished with our complaining. It was a new year, a new beginning, and seeing Nicky sleep so peaceful reminded me that I didn’t have it as bad as I made it seem. Drew was still a dick, though.
“Let’s have sex,” I suggested, closing the door behind me. Drew was in bed on his laptop, probably working on his stupid store.
“Let’s not. Let’s talk,” he countered while I continued to undress in front of him.
“I don’t want to talk. I want to fuck.”
“Stop talking like that. You’re drunk.”
“I know. That’s why I want to fuck. If we talk, I’m going to raise my voice.”
“If we fuck, you’re going to raise your voice.”
I laughed. “Good point. I still like my idea better,” I assured him, straddling his lap with my naked body. I didn’t give him time to reply. My tongue replaced his words and he responded. Kissing me long, deep, and possessive, Drew rolled me to my back.
“You taste like peaches.”
“See if my pussy tastes like peaches.”
“You have a very dirty mouth when you’re drunk. I sort of love it,” Drew admitted, moving down my body. My eyes closed at the same moment the moan escaped my lips. Drew took one long stride between my slit and assured me it didn’t taste like peaches. I didn’t reply with words. Instead, I spread myself more for him. Drunk sex was the best. Or not.