Thursday, December 15, 2016

12 Days of Christmas--Day#2--Short Story

Hey all! Welcome to day #2 of The 12 Days of Christmas!!! :D Today I have a  short story for y'all that I wrote last year. :) 

Madison, Indiana, December 24th, 1943
Milton  slowly made his way down the street, heading toward brightly lit window of the bakery in the distance. Large, white snowflakes drifted lazily down from the sky, creating a picturesque Christmas.
Well, Christmas eve.
He was the only one out tonight, it seemed. He smiled to himself; it wouldn't be that way for long.
Suddenly, the door loomed in front of him, and he stopped, shuffling his army-issue boots in the snow. Thank goodness they at least kept his feet warm, although it didn’t really matter. He was sure he wouldn’t be able to feel the cold if he was barefoot. 
No, he had only one thought on his mind.
He hesitated before opening the door and stepping inside. The door opened silently; no clanging bells announced his entrance, and he closed it behind him. 
The smells of cinnamon and vanilla, as well as the slow strains of Bing Crosby’s I’ll be home for Christmas, greeted him. As he looked at the array of food behind the glass showcase, his mouth watered.
All the days over in Europe with army rations had left him feeling half-starved  for home-baked foods. Plus, he knew the person who made them. And her cooking was to die for.
Well, not quite literally. Because if he died, he wouldn't have been able to taste it again. He shook his head. His thoughts could take the weirdest turns sometimes.
He stood and straightened his collar. The sense of excitement that had been building in him on his walk over suddenly seemed to overpower him.
Two years. He hadn’t seen Betty in two years. Would she have changed?
He tiptoed behind the counter, and peered around the curtain that separated the office from the kitchen. 
She was there. His bride of only a week before he shipped out. She sat there with a pen in her hand, and it looked as though she was in the middle of writing something or other. 
After all, it was Christmas eve; the bakery was technically closed. There was no reason for her to have been behind the counter; she must have just forgotten to lock the front door.
He was thankful for that.  
Walking as though he were stepping on eggshells, Milton made his way across the room, praying the radio would drown out the sound of his footsteps.
He stopped when he was within two feet from her chair. Her dark brown curls were scattered across her shoulders, and her hazel eyes focused on the paper in front of her.
Now came the next question. How to surprise her before she sensed she wasn’t alone? A sudden idea hit him and he smiled. Why not?
“I’ll be Home for Christmas, you can count on me.” He did his best to make his voice deep and smooth, blending in with Crosby’s crooning.
“Please have snow, and mistletoe, and presents on the tree.”
Betty froze for a second, as though not believing her ears.
With a twinkle in his eyes as he reached out and tweaked her hair from behind, Milton continued to sing. "Christmas eve will find me, where the love light gleams."
Betty whirled around and met his gaze, and then covered her mouth with her hands. “Milton!”
He smiled and winked at her. “I’ll be home for Christmas--” He didn’t get any further before she stood, knocking the chair to the ground and throwing herself into his arms.
He held her close as he buried his head in her hair. Her soft curls were foreign to his calloused face, and he reveled in their silky feeling. He hadn’t realized just how much he’d missed her until he held her. Hadn't realized just how much she had been a part of him. At that moment, with her in his arms, everything seemed to fade away. The war, the fighting, the pain he’d seen, it was all gone, replaced with fierce love for the person he held in his arms.
“I’m home, Betty. I came home for Christmas.” He whispered the words in her ear.
She  released her hold on him and stepped back, tears running down her face and a bright smile shining through the tears. “But how? How are you here?”
“I walked over." He winked. "I went home first, and you weren't there. Dad said you were here."
"No, but how--?" She didn't finish the question, her eyes asking it for her.
Milton smiled softly. "I was wounded. I--" He looked down, not letting his eyes meet her gaze. He hadn't wanted to get into this tonight. "I'm mostly healed now, but I've got a bullet that's still lodged in my chest. It's too close to the the heart to operate on. I can't fight with that, so they sent me home."
Betty's eye widened in alarm. "But if it's still there, then that means--"
He pressed a finger over her lips, and then reached out and cupped her face in his hands. "We can talk about what will happen later. Tonight all that matters it that I'm here. With you."
For a long moment they stood there, their eyes communicating words that couldn't be spoken. Then he bent forward and placed a soft kiss on her lips.
Betty leaned into him, returning the kiss, and he closed his eyes, treasuring her closeness.
At last she stepped back and glanced up at him, a smile on her face. “But why didn’t you tell me when you first got here? Why did you try to sneak in?”
“I wanted to surprise you.” He frowned. “I’m guessing my crooning wasn’t exactly quite as romantic as Bing Crosby’s huh?”
She laughed. “Well, you never were the best singer. But no, yours was more romantic. Because you’re mine.”
He reached out a hand and stroked her hair. “Well, what do you say I walk you home?”
Betty's face lit with a smile. “I’ve waited two years to hear you ask me that.” She turned, picked up the chair and flipped off the radio before taking her jacket from the coat hanger and slipping it on.
He smiled as she took his arm and they walked toward the door together. Once outside she quickly locked the door and then they started down the sidewalk.
“So, I see you got the snow. How about mistletoe in the doorway, and the presents on the tree?” he asked casually.
Betty laughed. “The presents are under the tree, not on it, and the mistletoe is hung in the doorway, as it always is. Any particular reason for that last question?” she glanced up at him, eyebrows arched.
He winked at her. “Well, I just wanted to make sure it was there. I have two Christmases to catch up on, after all.”
She pressed closer to him and laid her head on his shoulder. “I can’t believe you’re home. Truly home.”
He squeezed her hand, “Home for Christmas. This Christmas as well as all the other ones God chooses to give us together.” 
The words reminded him of the awful truth. He didn't have much time left on this earth; it was doubtful he would make it to next Christmas.
He pushed the thought away, For tonight, the war and it's horrors were far away physically. He would keep it away in his thoughts, too. At least until after Christmas.
As they walked, he looked up at the stars that shone through the snow. He had thought that he would never again see them from American soil. Thank you, God, for getting me home. And giving me one more Christmas with those I love. 

What did you think? Did you enjoy it? Have you written a Christmas story?


  1. I really enjoyed your story, Jesseca!! :D It was so good, although a little sad too. :)

    1. So glad you enjoyed, Rebekah! :) Yeah ... it was sad writing it. :')

  2. Awww!! Such a sweet story, Jesseca. :') Part of it feel familiar, so maybe I read it last year? That sadness at the end though... *tears*

    1. Thank you, Faith! I think you did, but I added a bit to the shooting. Because I realized I had no reason for him to be able to be shipped home. xD *cries with you*

  3. Aww, Jess, this was the sweetest story!! Loved it! :D Almost teared up... :p

    1. Thanks, Livi! Hehe, yeah, me too. ;)

  4. Sweet and sad. Well written though.
    Yes, I've written a Christmas story. Or two. ;) (I haven't counted the number of Christmas stories I've written. Maybe I should some day.)

    1. Oh, and I really like your headers! I love trains!

    2. Thank you, Rebekah! Glad you enjoyed it! :)
      Yeah . ,. you've written a bunch. xD You should count them sometime! It'd be fun to know how many!

      Thanks! Me, too. ;)

  5. Awwww. *sniff* Loved the story so much!
    And YES I absolutely adore writing Christmas stories...have a bunch. ;)

    1. Aw, thanks, Victoria! I'm glad you liked it. :)

      Oh, they're so awesome! Speaking of which, I need to read the one you posted on your blog . . *scurries off to read*

  6. Beautiful story! And sad too :) I think I remember reading this from last year; loved how you included the song into the story :)

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Blessings! Yeah, it was fun to put it in there. xD

  7. Beautiful and touching story, Jessica. Is the setting WWII or some other war? (I probably need to touch up on my history :) )

    1. Thank you, Emmaline!!! Yes, it's set in the middle of WWII. :)

  8. This is great. I grinned the whole way through.

  9. Awww!!! That's so sweet!! Definitely publishing-worthy. Like "A Place Called Lonesome". :)

    ~Katja L.