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