The holidays are fast approaching and I'm so excited to be sharing over the next 5 weeks my holiday short story Mistletoe & Holly with you.
Zoey is going through the normal Christmas Eve ritual with her three-year-old twins. The only difference is that her husband Preston isn’t there to share it with them. He’s been deployed overseas and won’t be home for the holidays.
After Zoey tucks the kids in for the night, she places the gifts under the tree, snuggles on the sofa to watch It's a Wonderful Life, and falls asleep. She’s startled awake by a loud noise. Is she dreaming, or is her Christmas wish standing under the mistletoe?
It was Christmas Eve, and Zoey was putting the finishing touches on the cookies for Santa. Her mind wandered over the past few weeks, and her heart broke at the loneliness she was feeling. The holidays were always filled with happiness and laughter for her, but not this year. Her husband Preston, a Marine, a true hero, was currently serving overseas. She knew she was being selfish, but she wanted him to be there with her and the kids. It had been over seven months since they’d seen him. He’s fighting for my freedom, and that of every American, so why am I feeling so bitter?
Zoey sighed and thought about the past month. She’d gone through the holiday ritual on autopilot. The family Thanksgiving dinner had been quiet this year, everyone seemed to be walking on eggshells around her. On Black Friday she went shopping with sister while her mother watched the twins. She even spent a few days putting her Christmas village together. But nothing seemed to fill the hole in her heart.
She was so happy when her neighbor’s husband put up the outside lights. She took Jenna and Jeffery to pick out the tree and they helped her decorate it. Christmas was everywhere, but she was missing the cheer that went along with the season. The kids tried so hard to have fun when they all went for a sleigh ride, but when she looked in their eyes she could tell that they were missing their father too. Her Christmas wish was for Preston to come home, but she knew that wasn’t going to happen.
After Zoey cleaned up from dinner, she helped the twins fix a plate of cookies for Santa and filled a cup with milk. When the kids placed the items on the hearth, excitement was radiating off them, making Zoey smile. She settled them down on the couch and they sang carols, and she read T’was the Night Before Christmas. Preston always read that book on Christmas Eve, even before they had Jenna and Jeffery.
“Mommy, do you think Daddy misses us as much as we miss him?” Jeffery asked.
Zoey put her arm around him. “Oh, baby, I’m sure he does.”
“Momma, how will Santa find Daddy?” Jenna asked.
She placed a kiss on Jenna’s forehead. “Santa knows where everyone is. Daddy will get his gifts.”
She paused before adding, “Okay my little muffins, it’s time for bed.” Zoey laughed at their moans and groans. “Santa is watching!”
“Just a little longer, please,” Jeffery whined.
“Jeffery, remember that Santa knows who has been naughty,” Zoey reminded him.
“Momma, I wrote a letter to Santa, can I put it in my stocking?” Jenna asked while wiggling like a worm next to her.
“You wrote a letter to Santa?”
“Auntie Heather helped me. It’s in my bag.”
“Of course you can. Run and get it.”
“Thanks, Momma.” Jenna jumped up and ran to her bedroom to get the letter.
“Is Santa really watching us?” Jeffery whispered as he looked around.
“Yes, he is.” Before Zoey could say anything else Jenna came bouncing into the room with her letter and placed it inside her stocking.
“Okay, it’s time to wash up and brush your teeth before bed,” Zoey announced.
When the twins were finally tucked into bed, she kissed them each goodnight, turned the light off, and closed the door.
Zoey walked to the kitchen and poured herself a much needed glass of wine then relaxed in the recliner and stared at the Christmas tree. I love you, Preston, and miss you so much.
Her mind wandered to past Christmases when Preston would help her place gifts under the tree and then they would snuggle in the recliner to watch It’s a Wonderful Life. They would whisper how much they loved each other before retiring to the bedroom to make love.
She placed the empty glass of wine down and went to get the gifts for the twins. She placed the presents under the tree, then begin to stuff the stockings. After filling Jeffery’s, she remembered that Jenna had put a letter in hers. Fishing it out, she opened it, feeling a little guilty for invading her privacy, but after all she was ‘Santa’.
Please bring my daddy home for Christmas. Mommy is so sad all the time. I just want to see her smile again.
A tear slid down her cheek. Jenna was worried about her happiness. Zoey knew she needed to hide her sadness better. She wanted tomorrow to be filled with magic for her kids, like Christmas morning should be. Wiping away her tears, she placed the note in the pocket of the red dress she was wearing and filled Jenna’s stocking.
After everything was perfect, she poured herself another glass of wine, then curled up under a throw to watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Her eyes started to moisten as she thought of Preston. Zoey took a deep breath and fought the urge to cry. Too tired to get up and go to bed, she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.
See you next week for part 2!
Make sure you check out the other Beachwalk Press holiday stories!
Next up on Monday
Pepper Anthony - title is Positively Holly - http://www.pepperanthony.com
Tara Mills - title is Drawn To You - http://www.taramillsromance.com/blog.html
Sidda Lee Tate - title is Katrina’s Christmas - posting on Tuesdays at http://www.siddaleetate.blogspot.com/
Patricia Bates - title is Hometown Miracles - posting on Tuesdays at http://www.ofinkandquille.blogspot.com
Elise Whyles - title is Merry Christmas, Mrs. Todd - posting on Wednesdays at http://elisewhyles.blogspot.ca
Aimee Duffy - title is Believe in Me - posting on Wednesdays at http://www.aimeeduffy.co.uk/
Kaylie Newell - title is Winter Break - posting on Thursdays at http://www.kaylienewell.com
Lacey Wolfe - title is The Gift Beneath the Tree - posting on Thursdays at http://www.laceywolfe.com/blog.html
Ashlynn Monroe - title is Reunion - posting on Fridays at http://www.ashlynnmonroe.com/apps/blog/
Hazel Gower - title is His Holiday Lifesaver - posting on Saturdays at http://spicyauthors.blogspot.com/