Her Christmas Lie

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Losing his memory had some advantages, but mainly it created problems. Like how could he forget where Kelsey Johnson, his fiancée, lived?

Of course, she'd moved here during the months he liked to call the dark days. He couldn't remember a thing from March to November because a roadside bomb in Kabul had obliterated his Humvee almost three weeks ago, giving him a near death experience and a lovely extended hospital stay in Germany. All courtesy of Afghan insurgents.

Marine Second Lieutenant Tyler Ferguson shifted restlessly in the back seat of the cab. How would Kelsey react when she saw the bandage on his head and the wound in his leg, which was better, but far from healed.

He'd been lucky. His driver,  Sargent George McDonald didn't fare as well and he hated that. They'd become friends as he drove him around the desert rebuilding the infrastructure so his fellow marines could communicate and do recon work.

He'd been gone ten months, and for the last two, he'd had no communication with Kelsey. She must be worried sick. Him showing up unannounced, he hoped was a great surprise. He couldn't wait to gaze into her green eyes and let his fingers comb through her silken red curls.

Would it be rude, just to pick her up and carry her straight into the bedroom? He'd missed her so much, his heart ached as the miles separating them shrunk. It'd been so long since he'd felt her warm, loving arms around him.

Just the thought of seeing her, brought tears to his eyes. For a while he'd thought he'd never see her again. But finally his body had responded to the doctors’ treatments and then they'd delivered the bad news.

Maybe he'd lost more than just days in a hospital. Maybe he'd lost months, possibly forever, but his mind was working, his body was healing and even his leg was better. He had a lot to be thankful for.

So he couldn't remember the last nine months. The blast seemed to sear away the time he'd been in Afghanistan and frankly, he was okay with that as long as he could remember today and yesterday and every day going forward. Especially if it was spent with the woman he loved.

Snow fell softly as they drove through the Denver, Colorado neighborhood. He'd found her address on Google and given it to the driver. The cab pulled to a stop and he gingerly stepped out, hoping his bad leg held. Paying the driver, he said, "Thanks, man."

"Good luck, soldier," the cab driver said.

Tyler felt a grin spread across his face. Yanking off his cap, he pulled out the Santa hat he'd bought in the airport. With flowers in one hand, his duffle bag in the other, he limped up the sidewalk to the front door.

The home looked inviting, a wide wooden porch, with patio chairs beneath the overhang eves. The neighborhood was an older, more settled type of homeowner. The kind of place with families and dogs and backyard barbecues. The only problem was Kelsey hadn't decorated for Christmas which surprised him. She loved the holiday season and always decked the house from the inside out.

With trembling fingers, he rang the bell and waited impatiently. Just when he was ready to give up, he heard the door locks being pulled back. Anticipation at seeing the woman he loved, tore at his rapidly beating heart. This point in time seemed to drag clear into next week. When she pulled back the wooden door, he opened his arms wide. "Merry Christmas!"

For a moment, Kelsey stared at him in shock and then she came outside. Gently, she reached up and put her hand to his head. He'd waited so long for her loving touch...a whole four weeks, but he knew it'd been longer. "You're hurt."

"Yeah, I had a little meeting with a roadside bomb. But the insurgents didn't live to tell about the destruction they'd caused." The doctors had refused to let him remove the bandage around his head until after the next appointment.

"Tyler," she whispered her voice choked.

Why wasn't she kissing him? Sure, he probably looked worse than he felt, but since the day of the bombing, he'd dreamed about her lips moving against his.

"Are you badly injured?" she asked.

"A little memory loss." He laughed and shrugged, wanting only to kiss her. "I've been anticipating your mouth and all you want to talk about is how badly hurt I am?"

Sweeping her into his arms, he pulled her body in close to him. His lips came crashing down on hers in a kiss that he'd been waiting for. A kiss filled with promises of love and devotion and assurances of nights of mind-blowing sex. He craved some between the sheets action with his woman in a major way.

Her arms slowly wound around him, as she gave herself over to the demands of his mouth. He wanted her as close as he could get her without doing the tango right here on her porch, under the stars, while the neighbors watched.

She stepped out of his arms and stared at him, her emerald eyes shimmering with tears. "Come in, Tyler, we need to talk.”