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Archive Monthly Archives: December 2019

All I Want for Christmas – Chapter 5

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This short Love & Found Story is a gift to YOU, my beloved reader. It hasn’t yet been formally edited yet, so please excuse any typos or errors. Happy reading and Happy Holidays, my friend!

Did you miss the beginning? Click HERE to start from Chapter 1

Chapter 5

Lacey

I hadn’t purchased a gift for Luke.  Aunt Betty had agreed to help me find something tomorrow, but now that things had changed I wouldn’t be keeping that date.  Instead, I managed to snag a very inexpensive ticket to Florida with the money I’d been holding on to for his present. 

My eyes were red and puffy from all the tears I’d shed as I packed up my things and left the cabin.  It was a miracle I managed to avoid Percy Davis who was just walking past the cabin as I was stuffing my bags into the car.  I didn’t have the heart to explain and didn’t have the wherewithal to make something up.

Now I was sitting in the terminal of the Jack Brooks Airport in Port Arthur, refusing to let myself cry anymore as I waited for a flight that wouldn’t leave for another three hours. 

“Damnit where the heck are you, Brody?” I hissed under my breath as I texted my brother for the umpteenth time.  I knew he and mom were near Orlando but I didn’t know where they were staying and I’d never be able to find them if I didn’t get through to him. 

My flight leaves in less than 3 hours.  I need to know where you are so I can find you when I land.

Mom’s phone wasn’t answering either which made no sense at all because she was never, ever away from that thing.  The pain from my broken heart was fraying my nerves and I was getting more and more irritated as the moments ticked by without a response. 

“Let me guess,” a little old woman sitting across from me spoke as she stood and shuffled over to the spot next to me, “Your gentleman isn’t answering your calls?”

I wrinkled up my face in a frown and shook my head, “No, that isn’t it at all.  I’m trying to reach my brother.”

“Oh, come now,” she patted my hand, “I know that look.  A brother can’t make you look so heart shorn.  Is he supposed to be meeting you here for a special trip?”

I turned in my seat and gave the woman my back.  It was incredibly rude and very out of character but I didn’t need some nosy old biddy dredging up the emotions I was working very hard to keep in check.

“I remember my Walter,” she mused, undeterred by my standoffish attitude, “When he was away in the service we made a vow to send letters to each other every week.  Of course it was easy for me to keep that bargain.  I was at home, not off in the middle of a war we weren’t even supposed to be in,” she whispered as she leaned close to my ear, “Korea you know.  The first week of missed letters annoyed me.  I just knew he’d forgotten to write and that I must not mean so much to him.  But then another week passed.  And another…” her voice trailed off.

My chest constricted and I took several breaths as I struggled to bottle up the sadness threatening to bubble up from my center. Finally, I found enough self-control to speak, “What happened?  Was he all right?”

“Oh,” she laughed, “Of course he was dear.  He’d been wounded, but not seriously.  He never did recover full use of that arm, but he went on to live a long, happy life.  We were married fifty-seven years before he went home to be with the Lord.”

“Fifty-seven.  That’s a long time,” I murmured, tears filling my eyes.

“Yes, I suppose it is.  But it doesn’t seem long enough to me you know.”

We were silent a few minutes and I fumbled around in my bag for some tissue.  I sniffed, sniffed again, then dabbed at my cheeks and blew my nose. 

“You know,” the old woman spoke again, “I’d swear that young man over there is staring at you.”

My head snapped up and I looked at the security area to see Luke.  His eyes focused on me, while he seemed to be arguing with the TSA agent at the security checkpoint.  I stood and started that direction before remembering my bags.

“Oh, don’t worry, dear.  I know it’s against the rules and all, but you just leave your bags right here and run check on things. I’ll keep an eye on them.”

I nodded, wiping my face again and thinking I must look a mess after all of the crying.  I hated the idea that Luke would know I’d been crying over him.

“I’m sorry, sir, but without a ticket, you can’t come through,” the agent was telling him.”

“I just need to talk to her…” turning to me, his expression imploring, “Lacey, can you just come out here and talk to me.”

“I don’t think we need to talk.  I know this wasn’t right for me to foist myself on you the way I did.”

“Please, Lacey,” he begged, trying to get through again and receiving a hard shove from the agent.

“Sir, I’ll have you arrested if you try that again.  Now if the young lady wants to speak with you she can step out and go back through when she’s finished.  Otherwise, you need to leave.”

“Lacey, I’m sorry I haven’t spent enough time with you.  Can’t we just talk about this?”

I crossed my arms over my chest and stood pat, “I don’t want to talk about it.  Just go away.  You can feel free to see all you want of that gorgeous red-head without me here.”

And then he started laughing.  That was just too much for me to handle.  I dropped my arms to my sides and fisted my hands as I stomped my way past the metal detectors to him.  With a hard swing of my arm, I punched him in the gut, pleased when I heard the air whoosh from his lungs.

“Jesus, Lacey.  What the hell is wrong with you?”

“That was for laughing at me.  This is for…”

“Whoaaa…” he backed away and put his hands up in surrender, “I wasn’t laughing at you.  Not really.  I was just laughing at how silly this is…”

“Silly!”

“She’s my aunt, Lacey.  My dad’s baby sister.  An ‘oops baby’ as they called it.  She’s just a few years older than me, but that gorgeous redhead is my aunt.”

“Your aunt?” I asked, one hand held suspended mid-punch, “That was your aunt?”

“Yes,” he rubbed his belly with a grimace. “Where the hell did you learn to hit like that?”

“But you lied about working.  You said you were so busy with work you couldn’t come help me with the apartment shopping.  And you insisted I look for a six-month lease.  It’s like you didn’t really want me here.  I’m not stupid, Luke.  I can tell this isn’t how you planned things.”

“You’re right,” he said seriously, “This isn’t how I planned things.  You threw a bit of a wrench into things.  I had to do a little bit of correcting, but,” then he reached into his back pocket before dropping down to one knee, “Even if this isn’t how or where I planned to ask you, I still want to marry you, Lacey Sinclair.”

The blood drained from my face and the air got stuck in my lungs.  I felt like I might pass out any minute if I didn’t exhale, but somehow I couldn’t. All I could do was stand there staring at the most beautiful engagement ring I’d ever seen, holding my breath in case this was all just a dream.

“Well, what are you going to say, dear?”

It was the little old lady’s voice, but I couldn’t turn to look at her.  Instead, my eyes rose to meet Luke’s blue ones and tears began to trail my face, “Yes!  I’m going to say yes.  I do say yes!”

His smile was magnificent as he took my hand and slipped the ring onto it.  Then he stood and his mouth captured mine in a deep, sweeping kiss.  His arms cradled me under my backside and lifted me high as his lips smothered mine. 

A collective applause finally caused us to come apart and with flaming cheeks I smiled at all of the airport staff and travelers who were gawking at us, beaming expressions of excitement on their faces.

“I knew it would be yes,” the old woman said, putting her hands to her cheeks with a sweet, satisfied smile.

As I took the bags she passed to me, I asked, “How did you know?”

“I just did.  There are always silly misunderstandings in a relationship.  I could tell by your face that you must have fallen into one.  Just like the one I fell into all those years ago when my Walter was injured.”

“That’s why he couldn’t write every week,” I nodded, clinging to Luke’s side as I admired the ring that had slid so perfectly onto my finger.

“Oh, he wrote every week.  Almost every day.  Well, he had someone else write to me.  He couldn’t with his arm, you see.  But somehow, the nurse got the address numbers transposed.  Finally all those letters made their way to my doorstep and that as they say is history.”

I watched her walk away, a mesmerized smile on my face, “They were married fifty-seven years,” I whispered as Luke nuzzled my neck.

“Fifty-seven years?  That’s a long time.”

I smiled and looked up at him, cupping his face with my hands, “It won’t be nearly long enough for me.  I want fifty-seven, then fifty-seven more.  That’s what I want for Christmas.”

“Well, I’ll do my damndest,” he kissed me again, “You know I can’t deny my pretty little thing anything.”

Are you enjoying this Love & Found Christmas short-short?  Stay tuned, the next chapter will appear in your inbox in just a few weeks.

All I Want for Christmas – Chapter 4

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This short Love & Found Story is a gift to YOU, my beloved reader. It hasn’t yet been formally edited yet, so please excuse any typos or errors. Happy reading and Happy Holidays, my friend!

Did you miss the beginning? Click HERE to start from Chapter 1

Chapter 4

Luke

“Well, I’d do anything for you, Luke,” Lila said, putting a hand on my arm and leaning in a little closer to me. “You’ve always been my favorite.”

Lila was my Dad’s baby sister and although she was technically my aunt, we were so close in age that we’d always been more like cousins.  A few weeks ago she’d moved back to town after being overseas with her husband for the last year.  He was still in Germany at the moment but would arrive back after the holiday to rejoin his family in the states.

“This goes a little beyond favorites,” I told her, a little sheepish about calling her for help.  “Even though I know I’m the best nephew you’ve got,” then I winked at her and laughed.

“I don’t mind, Luke.  I trust you implicitly and I know you’ll pay me back.  Even though I knew we had the money, I just had to check with Jared first before I could agree for sure.”

“You don’t have to make any excuses,” I told her as she handed me the envelope, “Besides, I picked up another quick job this morning,” I pulled a few of the bills out and handed them back to her, “So I don’t need quite as much now.”

“Well just be sure you don’t work so hard you neglect the future Mrs. Luke Roden.  We women are funny about those things.”

I chuckled again, my face pulled into a grin so big it hurt my face.  But I couldn’t help it.  I was so excited that it was hard not to smile, “Yes, ma’am, I’ll remember that.  Thanks again, Lila.  I’d better get in there before they sell it out from under me.  The guy behind the counter said he could only hold it until this afternoon.”

“Well, I’m coming with you,” she said as if I should have known, then curled her arm into mine and followed me into the store. “I mean, it’s bad enough you haven’t introduced me to the lucky lady yet.  The least you can do is show me this rock you picked out.”

“Hey, it’s not my fault you’re so busy getting that gigantic house you bought in order.  I tried to invite you to dinner a few weekends ago.”

She shoved herself into my side playfully as we approached the jewelry counter.

“You came back,” Allen Hogg, the associate I’d been working with said as he met us at the kiosk, “And is this the lucky lady?”

“Oh no!” Lila chortled, then held out her hand to show off her own wedding and engagement pair, “I’m already hitched.  I’m just here to approve of his choice.”

“Well, I think you’ll be very pleased,” Aaron beamed as he opened the shelves under the display case and pulled out a small box. 

“Oh, Luke,” Lila gasped when the salesman lifted the lid and held the box out for her to see.  She reached a hand out, though didn’t touch the ring. “This is perfect.”

White gold with one large diamond surrounded in a square halo of smaller diamonds, the ring was simple, yet charming.  He’d worried about finding something with more stones, more carats, a bigger price tag.  But deep down, when he’d seen this ring he knew it was Lacey’s.  His beautiful girl didn’t need extravagance to set her off. 

“And are you ready to make your purchase?” Aaron asked him, gently closing the top and putting the ring down on the glass.

“Yep,” I nodded, pulling out my wallet, “That I am.”

“Perfect.  Now, remember, if there’s any problem with the sizing, just bring the young lady back here and we’ll make sure it fits her finger just perfectly.”

“Thanks.  I think it will fit, though,” I’d been meticulous about the sizing, taking one of Lacey’s rings and tracing the inside and outside of it on a piece of paper at least a dozen times before bringing it back to this store for them to size it.  I wanted the pleasure of slipping it on her finger after she said yes without having to bring her back here to the store.

I counted out the cash Lila had loaned me, then wrote a check for the balance of the cost.  Aaron looked pleased and I knew he was making a commission on the sale.  A commission which hopefully made the weeks and weeks of harassment while I worked to save up the money worth his time.  As requested, he tied the box with a gold ribbon, then dropped it into a bag and handed it over to me.

“Merry Christmas, Mr. Roden.”

Holding the bag tight in my hand, I walked with Lila to her car.

“So when are you going to pop the question?  Christmas morning?”

“Nope.  Definitely, don’t want to wait that long.  Even a few days is too much.  We’re having a party at the bayou tonight and I’m going to do it there.  I even got ahold of her brother and he’s going to be there with her mom as an extra surprise.”

“Man, Luke, I’m impressed.  You’re going all out for this girl.  She really must be the one.  There’s only one thing you’ve forgotten.”

My mind whirled and I wondered what I might have left out of my meticulous plans.  When Lila started giggling, I cut her a glare, “You’re messing with me.” “Me!” she shouted, “You forgot to invite me.  I have given my official seal of approval for that gorgeous rock there.  I deserve to see her face when she says yes.”

Are you enjoying this Love & Found Christmas short-short?  Stay tuned, the next chapter will appear in your inbox in just a few weeks.