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Couple lets new roommate video tape them.
He hadn't slept well the night before, so when he stirred awake at 4:30 on Christmas Eve morning, he couldn't get back to sleep. For one thing, he still had no idea what to get Samantha; thank goodness her birthday wasn't until April. And Ginger's "helpful" talk turned out to be anything but. What do you give someone when there's a part of you that wants to give them everything, and another part that wants to move slowly so you don't scare them away?
More importantly, the plan meant Samantha would be staying with him overnight. For a couple who hadn't even kissed yet, that seemed like a huge step. He admitted to himself that waking up beside Samantha on Christmas morning was going to be the highlight of the season for him, but still. Were they going to sleep together, or sleep together? What did she want? For that matter, what did he want? And if getting a gift for her was a struggle to find an intermediate ground, then how they handled the night before was going to be even more of a tightrope to walk. With all that swirling in his mind, it was next to impossible to get into the Christmas spirit. Still though... He had to admit that he was looking forward to Christmas for the first time in a long, long time.
Twenty miles to Archie's east, a very similar set of concerns roiled in Samantha's mind as she dozed in bed that morning. She'd already settled on what she was giving Archie for Christmas; in fact, she'd figured that out the night of their blind date. She really hoped he'd like it, though if she were being honest with herself, it was as much for her as it was for him.
And Christmas Eve was shaping up to be a great deal of fun, even if she was a little wistful about not having her parents around. They would have liked Archie. They would have loved the way he treated her, certainly better than the last few guys she'd dated. But she really wished they could have met him. She had a feeling, a dream maybe, that she might be spending a lot of holidays with Archie, and the thought warmed her from the inside out.
But, what did he expect from her? Spending the night together? In looking back on it, she realized that he hadn't suggested it, nor had she. It just came out during their conversation, as though it was the most natural thing in the world for them to do.
"Wait. Hang on here. If I didn't suggest it, and he didn't suggest it, then..." There was only one other person in the conversation. Samantha grabbed at her phone, without thinking about whether Ginger was awake or not.
After eight rings, she heard a groggy "Hello?" Yep, she woke her aunt up. Nope, at the moment, she didn't care, thanks much for asking.
"Ginger, how do you do things like this? Why do you do things like this?"
"Oh, good morning, Sammi. Do things like what, dear?"
Samantha's blood was boiling now, though she couldn't really explain why she felt that way. "You know perfectly well what I'm talking about."
"I might, if I'd had my first nine cups of coffee by now. Since I haven't, you're going to have to spell things out for me."
Inhale, exhale. In through the nose, out through the mouth. One more time, and breathe. "I just now realized how you manipulated me into staying the night at Archie's."
"Sammi, I have no idea what..."
"Save it, Auntie. I know you better than that."
"Okay, okay." Samantha could hear the at-the-moment insufferable glee in her voice. "I confess. But the truth of the matter is that you needed a gentle push in the right direction. As sweet and wonderful as a friendship can be, you both deserve more than that from each other.
"Sammi, you're mad at me, and that's fine. But I know that he wants more than a new friend out of this, only he's skittish. And I also know you feel exactly the same: eager, but apprehensive.
"Look, before you start fuming and doing that silly breathing thing to calm yourself down, let me ask you something."
"Dammit. And damn you for knowing me that well. Fine. One question, but it better be a good one."
"Okay, but I reserve the right to ask a followup: in the time that you