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Marlon stared after the woman that saved him from hours of Mistletoe-Hide-and-Seek. When the game started, he was as unfortunately clueless as the other men at the party but eventually word got out and the remaining unkissed men either played along or tried to avoid getting involved. For some, avoidance meant leaving early. For others, it meant hiding away in a room. But for him, he just had to dodge the group. It worked, but every time he had to move, it got harder and far more irritating.

“Wooow, you landed the beauty queen.”

“What?” Marlon snapped out of his daze and looked over his shoulder to find an eerily pleased Ani. “She’s no-Just–Grow up,” Marlon growled under his breath. In his daze, he lost track of Adaline but he couldn’t forget her. The feel of her lips, the brazen arrogance in her touch, the spark in her eyes that he wasn’t sure reflected her curiosity or his.

He silently cursed his own thoughts as he moved through the various little groups. The holiday spirit worked its magic for most of them. He eyed a few of the younger ones who hovered too close to the alcohol but Ben helped ease his mind. Whatever Ben said to them made the group all but run off towards the kitchen. He raised a brow when he finally caught Ben’s gaze only to shake his head. The man simply shrugged at him before disappearing in the crowd, which left Marlon to continue with his own game of hide-and-seek.

It took a few hallways and room checks, but he finally found her. “You,” he hissed, dragging her away.

“Marlon,” she answered innocently.

He made sure to wait till she was alone before he risked grabbing her, and once he did, he pulled her into an empty room. As he rounded on her, his eyes narrowed but he didn’t let her go.

“I told you that you couldn’t be mad.”

His gaze hardened. She was the last person he expected to be remotely attracted to. She was insufferable on a good day with her pranks and her annoying habit of barging into his room. She was even worse when she was in a mood. She was nosy, stubborn, arrogant and yet he couldn’t figure out what made her so interesting.

Lost in thought, he closed the distance. His eyes searched hers for a second, as if searching for an answer to fate’s sense of humor, before closing as he kissed her. Unlike the first time, he wasn’t surprised. He didn’t hesitate to hold her in place or to indulge in her willing participation. Her hands found their way to his shirt again, earning a small smirk in their break for air.

“What are you doing?” She breathed out. “You can’t-”

Marlon stole the rest of her words with another kiss. “Stop talking for once.” He met her gaze briefly before dropping his to her pout. “Merry Christmas, Blue.” Resisting the urge to kiss her again till it made sense, he slipped out the room and back into the party. There were a few more hours left for him to distract himself with. He only hoped he’d eventually distract himself enough that he’d stop thinking about Adaline. He just needed a lot more of Ani’s egg nog and no more holiday surprises.