Monday, December 30, 2013

Fiction: "The Knight Before Christmas"

Find this free story in its entirety HERE at

(part of) Part 1

Jamison Riley strode quietly to the doorway leading into the spacious modern kitchen. “Mrs. Costas!” The frat housemother glanced up calmly, as if she truly did have a sixth sense when it came to her boys. “What are you still doing here? It’s after five on Christmas Eve for God’s…I mean, well…” The 21-year-old suddenly looked embarrassed.

Sigma Mu Pi’s chief cook and practically resident Dear Abby glared at him; quickly glanced heavenward; mouthed something religious sounding; then made the sign of the cross.

“I could ask you the same thing, Mr. Riley. Weren’t you--”

He cut her off. “Meeting a new ‘friend’ that now I fully suspect will turn out to be a figment of Mr. Brit-Lit’s imagination? Yeah, well, either way it kinda fell through…” If she was real all they had to do to dissuade her was post any of a million geeky pictures they have of me.

“Oh dear. I’m so sorry, Jamison,” she said, rushing around the island cook top, arms outstretched towards the lanky 6’ 7” engineering student, whose Santa hat barely brushed the top of the doorframe, even in thick-soled boots. He’d had a major say in designing the new house, recently rebuilt from the ground up. So here, at home, his typically battered noggin was safe, unlike elsewhere around the historic college, with its antiquated structures.

He halfheartedly returned the proffered hug.

“So that’s what some of the boys were joking about it,” she said, “at the farewell breakfast…” She looked away and bustled back to finish whatever tidying he’d caught her at.

“Seriously? Well, no great loss; it was just coffee.” Though he tried to sound cavalier, the date was the first he’d almost had all semester. “Guess they took bets on how close to 6 p.m. she’d bail.”


“You know; break the date. Bail out…on me.” He set a large SMP-logo’d mug in position under the single-serve coffee maker and absently twirled the pod tree.

On the cast-concrete counter Ivana Costas’ phone lit up and vibrated.

“Ah. There’s my baby,” she said and snatched it up, but not before Jamison had gotten a look at the glowing portrait of Nadia, the housemother’s achingly attractive youngest daughter.

Nadia…for me it might as well be nyet.

“Oh Noddy, sweetheart,” she paused listening, “I’m so sorry--” paused again and locked eyes with Jamison; shook her head and shrugged. She looked at the kitchen clock. 5:20. “Then there’s no reason, I mean no objection counselor, that you can possibly come up with now to keep from coming to dinner and then to church with the rest of us.”

The older woman fairly beamed. As if she’d won her first case against her law-student daughter. “Five minutes then?” She paused to listen. “I’ll overrule you! Approach me at the curb.” She chuckled into the phone and winked at Jamison as if he was in on all of it. “Love you, too. Bye.”

“She’s…Nadia’s…back? From the University?” He squeaked at the end and felt plenty stupid. Of course she was back. It’s Christmas, idiot. It was no secret, from most of the students in SMP and because of that, most likely not from Ivana Costas either: Jamison had long been smitten with the girl. From the first time he’d seen her sitting in the car out front while her mother had interviewed for the in-house job and every time thereafter she’d acted as chauffeur...FIND the rest of the story at the Smashwords link above.

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