Today’s post is this month's Use Your Words writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked four to six words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That is the challenge, here is a fun twist; no one who is participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.
My words are:
Spirit ~ Holly ~ Friends ~ Artificial ~ Parties ~ Niece
Today's post is an installment of an ongoing story I have been writing. In case you have not read the first three parts, or you want to refresh your memory, the previous parts can be found using these links:
Layne was busy trying to get her house in pristine condition. Somehow, her sister Blayne had talked her into hosting this big shindig at her house. It did make some sense. Her house was actually slightly larger than Blayne's. Plus, at her house, there weren't toys everywhere. Though, her niece did have some toys at her house, definitely not as many as she had at her own home. Speaking of her niece, she needed to remember to ask her sister what she should get Marlee for Christmas. She was sure there was some super awesome toy that Marlee was really wanting.
Layne finished draping the holly garland across the mantle, and turned back to the storage bin to retrieve the stocking hooks. She was really beginning to feel the Christmas Spirit. She had been worried that it would pass her by this year, but by some miracle it seemed to have decided to make itself at home in her heart. She was sure that it wasn't exactly a miracle, and more of a matter of Damon. Her second physical therapy session had been even better than the first, even though it had been hard, and definitely a workout as he had promised.
Blayne had driven her to her appointment today, and they had made lots of plans for this weekend's shindig. So many plans, including using Layne's house, and ordering a bunch of holiday treats from Jules' bakery. Zayne was going to man the grill, Rayne and their mom were going to make a bunch of side dishes, Blayne was going to handle the appetizers, and they were going to have their friends bring the beverages. They were lucky, because even though it was December, the weather was still good enough here in California, to have a barbecue. Plus, and this was probably her favorite thing about living in California, she could wear flip flops all year long. Of course, she spent a lot of time in boots, but whenever she wasn't wearing boots, she was wearing flip flops.
Having finished decorating the mantle, she sat down in her recliner, and curled herself into a ball. She looked over at her Christmas tree, and a smile lit up her face. She had decorated, with her mom's help, last week. Much to her mom's dismay, she had decided to buy an artificial tree. They had always had real trees growing up, and after moving into her own home, she had continued the real tree tradition, but this year, she had decided to buy this gorgeous one she had seen on sale at K-Mart. It was seven feet tall, had both color lights and white lights, and it had various different settings for the lights. It was full and beautiful, and she thought it was perfect. Even her mom admitted it was really nice. She would have finished all the decorating that day, but somehow, Zayne had forgotten a few boxes of Christmas stuff up in the attic. She couldn't climb up the ladder herself, and she definitely wasn't going to have her sixty year old mom climb up. Thankfully, Blayne had gone up and gotten the boxes for her, after she brought her home from her therapy appointment earlier.
Therapy. She was going to like therapy, she could tell, and not just because the most gorgeous man ever was her therapist. Maybe it was because she had been immobile for so long, or maybe it was because of the fun exercises Damon had given her, but she really loved it. Her body felt good. She could feel her muscles gaining back strength. It was difficult, it was a huge challenge, and it hurt, but her body loved it. Of course, getting to look at a really good looking man the entire time was a nice bonus.
Layne couldn't believe herself. She had literally never been this gaga over a guy before, not even Matt Damon. That is probably why she was nearly thirty-four years old, and still single. She had dated a few guys over the years, but she had never truly been in love with any of them. They had all been good looking, but none captivated her quite like Damon did. She really needed to get her thoughts sorted out, and her head screwed back on straight. She barely knew this guy, and he was her physical therapist. She needed to stop these thoughts before they even started.
She began creating a to-do list in her head. She still needed to give her house a thorough cleaning. She needed to clean out her fridge and freezer, making room for food and drinks for the party. She had her second fridge delivered and put in her garage, but she hadn't actually plugged it in yet. She would need to do that later, and get Zayne to come over and hook up the ice maker. Her house was located about three quarters of a mile behind her parent's house. She had designed it herself. Zayne's construction company had built it, and Rayne had helped with the decor. She was happy she had added a mini kitchenette into the garage. The patio that was built off the side of the garage, that wrapped around to the back of the house, was perfect for parties, and the extra kitchen space was helpful for barbecues.
Her family was always hosting parties. Many of them were held at her parent's house, here on their ranch, or at Blayne's home, which was on the neighboring ranch, her sister and her husband owned. Occasionally, Rayne or Zayne would host them, but not too often. Before having this house built, Layne had lived in a small rental house in town, so she had never hosted parties. So, really, this weekend's shindig would be her first official party. She was actually excited to have her family and friends over, and of course her siblings friends. The fact that it was Christmastime only added to the excitement.
The sound of her cell ringing broke through her thoughts. She picked it up and looked at the screen. A number she did not know was displayed on the screen. It was a local Oakdale number. She slid her finger across the screen, and held it to her ear. "Hello?!"
"Hello, Layne, I am sorry to bother you so late," came Damon's smooth voice, "but I was actually hoping to catch you before bed. This is Damon."
"Oh, I am a night owl," Layne squeaked out, barely hiding her shock at this unexpected call. "What can I do for you?!"
"Good. I am glad I didn't wake you." Damon said, his voice sounding strong and sultry. "I know I had you schedule your next appointment for Monday, but I was actually hoping to work with you sooner than that. I am worried about letting your muscles have too long of a break, after just starting to get back into being actively used again."
"Oh," Layne replied, her voice barely hiding her excitement at the prospect of seeing him sooner than 10 am on Monday. "That would be fine. I am free all day tomorrow. Do you want me to call Melissa in the morning and set something up?"
"Well, I am actually working my full-time job tomorrow, so I am not seeing any patients. I was actually hoping to work with you on Saturday. I am free all day. It would be off the books, and I wouldn't charge you." Damon replied.
"Oh, I can't do it on Saturday," Layne replied, disappointment dampening her happy tone. "My sister actually talked me into hosting a barbecue at my house, and I will be setting up all morning, and the party will probably go until the evening. I am so sorry. Could we possibly do it on Sunday?"
"Oh," replied Damon, disappointment showing in his tone. "I work on Sunday as well. Saturday was my free day, and I had hoped you could fit a session in. Well, at least you will be getting some activity in preparing for the party. Just be careful. No lifting anything too heavy, and make sure you listen to your muscles and don't overdo it."
Layne couldn't help but laugh at his fatherly tone. "No worries there. I have been obeying Doc W's weight restrictions, and I haven't pushed myself, except for during our appointment earlier."
"I am happy to hear that," Damon replied, his voice still sounding slightly sad. "I know you want to get back on Stable as soon as possible, but it is best to take time, so that you are ready when that time comes. You don't want any more injuries to set you back further."
"That is very true. The last thing I want is to be banned from riding any longer than I need to be. Since you aren't working on Saturday, do you want to come over?" Layne said, her thoughts coming out of her mouth, before really thinking about what she was saying. "I mean, if you come earlier in the day, I am sure we can get some therapy in, and you could help me with the lifting that needs to be done for the party, and then you could just stay for the party."
Damon couldn't stop himself from smiling. Not only would he get to give her a few pointers he had wanted to give her, for some simple strengthening exercises she could do throughout the day, but he would get to see her in her own element, outside of the therapy room. "That sounds great! I have a few simple exercises I want to show you. I can easily show them to you, while we set up for the party. As for staying for the party, I never turn down some good barbecue. Do you need me to bring anything?"
Layne was slightly in panic mode. She could not believe she had just invited Mr. Gorgeous to her house, plus she was truly doomed. Her sisters and brother would take one look at her and how she acted around Damon, and they would know she was attracted to him. She would literally never hear the end of it. There was nothing she could do now. The invite had been issued and accepted. Plus, whether she wanted to admit it or not, she was actually excited at the prospect of seeing him outside of physical therapy.
"Well, we have the bases covered," she replied. "You are welcome to bring anything you want to drink. If you want to bring some two liters or a twelve pack of soda, that would be awesome. I do have a decently stocked bar, but if you wanted to bring any special liquor or beer that you like, that would be cool as well. Of course, you are also welcome to bring your girlfriend or a friend."
"Well," Damon replied, the sultry tone having returned to his voice. "I am single, so no girlfriend to bring. I may bring my roommate. He could use a night out. If that is cool, of course. I am not a big drinker, but I will definitely bring some sodas! What time should I come over?"
Layne could barely hide her excitement. He was single. He was available. "Well, the party starts at one, but I need to get the patio set up. I have everything in the garage right now, because of all the rain we have been having. So, if you could get here around ten, that would be awesome. We would have plenty of time to set up and get some therapy done."
"That sounds perfect." Damon said, his tone barely hiding the excitement he was feeling. "My number should have come up on your phone. Think you could text me your address?"
"That is definitely something I can manage," Layne said, a smile bigger than her brother's head lighting up her face.
"Sounds good," Damon said. "I will see you then."
"See you then," Layne said.
She ended the call and jumped up to do a happy dance, but quickly sat back down. Her leg wasn't quite ready for jumping and happy dances. She began rubbing her thigh and calf, her thoughts racing at all she needed to do to prepare for seeing Damon on Saturday.
(To be continued.....)
Here are the links to the other “Use Your Words” posts. I will meet you there!