Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Let’s just give God thanks for who He is! There’s nobody like you Lord! We praise your Holy name. You came from Heaven to earth to do what only you could do. You loved us first, despite our wrongs. You became flesh, to sacrifice yourself for us. You chose us to reign with you, we did not choose you! Your grace and mercy endures forever! Your kingdom never ends. We just worship and adore you today God. We reflect on your goodness and mercy! Life is worth living because you gave your life for us. You alone are God and only in you we put our trust, Jesus. You are the Living Word. The Alpha and Omega. The beginning and the end. You called the universe into existence. You made us in your image. Out of dust you formed us. You breathed life into us and we became a living being. There’s nobody like you Lord. We worship you and praise your Holy name. This Christmas Eve, we reflect on your goodness and give you glory for who you are. You are the greatest gift any of us could ever receive. Your love is the greatest love of all. You’re all that and more God. It’s not about us, it’s about you. It’s not about the things of this world, but it’s about you! Nothing can satisfy like you. We just take a moment to meditate on you, Lord God. You’re a mighty God! We lift your name high, Jesus! We bless your name God. You’re all that, and more. In Jesus name. Amen.

Meditational song : John P. Kee “Mighty God” https://youtu.be/8xZNVBYtsmo

Hey y’all! This is part five of “Underneath the mistletoe”. This is the final chapter and the last Christmas story I’m writing this year. It has been a blast. Thanks everyone who’ve read my stories. Since this is the last chapter, be sure that you’ve read 1-4 before reading this one. Love you all! Merry Christmas! 🎄🎁

Fiona woke up yawning and stretching in bed. She went to her grandmother’s room to wake her up, and they both rushed downstairs like little kids who couldn’t wait to open their Christmas presents. Ms. Cat didn’t really rush though, but she did go as fast as her hip allowed her to. “Come on grandma,” Fiona said sitting on her knees, by the tree. “I’m coming,” Ms. Cat said. When Ms. Cat came downstairs, Fiona gave her, her first present. It was in a small Rectangular box. Ms. Cat opened it, and it was a diamond necklace. “Oh my, my, my,” Ms. Cat said. “Fe, this is beautiful, but it must have costed you a fortune,” she said taking the 14K white gold diamond necklace out of the box. “It did,” Fiona said jokingly. “No, on the real grandma. I’m fortunate to have you. This necklace is just a very small token to show you how much I love and appreciate you. Here,” Fiona said taking the necklace from her grandmother. “Let me put it on for you.” Fiona put the necklace on her grandmother and looked at her and said, “Beautiful.” She handed her grandmother the table mirror. “Wow,” her grandmother said looking into the mirror. “Thank you Fe,” she said with a hug. “You’re welcome grandma, but there’s more,” Fiona said handing Ms. Cat another gift. “Wait,” Ms. Cat said. “Let’s take turns. Here,” Mrs. Cat said, handing Fiona a gift. They continued to exchange gifts for thirty minutes, and then Ms. Cat went to check on her ham that had been slow cooking overnight. “Ding,” the timer on the oven said. “Yes, just in time. The ham is done, along with the desserts and pies. The only thing I have to cook are a couple of side dishes, because at the last minute, your vegan aunt decided she was going to bring a ton of vegetable dishes, and my sister in law is supposed to bring the Mac and cheese and green bean casserole,” she yelled to Fiona who was cleaning up the wrapping paper in the living room. “Dang grandma, and you bought all that food,” Fiona said. “No worries. That’s what my deep freezer is for. It will get cooked, believe that,” Ms. Cat said. At nine am Harold came over bearing gifts to both Ms. Cat and Fiona. By noon Ms. Cat and Fiona was dressed and ready for their family to come over. Ms. Cat went back downstairs with Harold while Fiona was putting the finishing touch of her makeup on. She put on some red lipstick, and gently rubbed her lips, while looking in the mirror. Then she adjusted her dress. There was a knock on the door. Harold opened the door as Fiona was coming downstairs. It was Deandre. Deandre paused at the door holding a gift in his hand. “Wow. Fefe, you look amazing,” he said. “Thanks,” Fiona said nonchalantly as she continued to stroll pass him. Without making a sound, her grandmother mouthed to her, “Talk to him.” “What?” Fiona said back, not understanding what her grandmother was saying. Then her grandmother mumbled impatiently, “Talk to him.” Fiona rolled her eyes and motioned with one hand for Deandre to come on. They went around the corner between the living room and the kitchen entrance. “Fiona. Yesterday was not what it seemed,” Deandre said. “Oh, yeah. Because it looked like you and Carol was at the mall together, hugging and kissing and having a good old time,” she said. “Listen, I didn’t come here to argue. So, are you going to let me speak? he said. “Sure, go ahead,” Fiona said. “Thank you,” he said before proceeding to explain. “I got your message yesterday, but not until after I got back home. I didn’t think it was a good idea to come over right after what had happened at the mall because I knew how you were feeling. So, I waited until you calmed down. Yesterday, pops and I went to run some errands and then we stopped by mall. I wasn’t there with Carol. The hug and kiss was out of no where. I didn’t even know she was at the mall until she walked up to me. There’s nothing going on with us, and just in case she was confused, I made it clear on yesterday. She was my past, but I want you to be my future. I’ve loved you since we were twelve, but I don’t just love you anymore. I am in love with you. I can’t see a future without you. Whatever we need to do to make us work, I’m willing to put in overtime, because you are the woman that I’m one hundred percent sure that I want to spend the rest of my life with,” Deandre said before pulling a small box out of his back pocket and getting down on one knee. He opened the box and inside was a three carat radiant cut diamond ring in platinum. “Fiona Denise Watson, if I’ve never been sure about anything, I’m certain of one thing. Our love is a sure thing. I love you and I want you to be my wife for as long as God gives us life. Will you marry me?” Ms. Cat and Harold came out from eavesdropping. “Ahh,” Ms. Cat screamed. “Shush,” Harold said. “You gotta wait to see what she says” he said. Fiona and Deandre smiled at each other. “Yes,” Fiona said with a nod. “Yes, Deandre Marquees Robinson. I will marry you,” Fiona said. “Yay,” her grandmother shouted as her and Harold clapped. Deandre rose from the floor and he and Fiona kissed, and kissed, and kissed some more. “Well would you look at that,” Harold said. “Underneath the mistletoe,” he said. Fiona and Deandre looked up and there hang a mistletoe. “Who put this here?” Fiona asked pointing up at the mistletoe. “Harold hung it there not too long ago. While you were upstairs getting dressed, we were,” Ms. Cat said before Fiona cut her off. “Never mind grandma, we don’t need to know.” “What, we were just kissing,” Ms. Cat said. They all laughed. Then there were three knocks on the door before her brother his wife, their kids and grandkids came in. “Merry Christmas everyone,” her brother said. “Merry Christmas,” they all said. Then her sister and her brother in law and their kids and grandkids came in. “Merry Christmas,” her sister said. “Merry Christmas,” everyone said again. Everyone greeted each other. “Oh, I forgot to tell you guys,” I got the job. I started the other day. I’m sorry I waited to tell you all, but I wanted it to be a surprise.” Everyone cheered. “Congratulations,” everyone said. Ms. Cat was so happy she cried. “I thought that I was going to have to pack up and come to New York,” Deandre said, holding Fiona close with his hands around her waist. She looked up into his eyes, and shook her head no. You don’t have to, because I refuse to make the same mistake twice. I’m not going anywhere this time. This time, I’m here to stay,” she said. They kissed again, while the rest of the family traded gifts. The End. ❤️

Hey y’all! This is part 4. If you haven’t done so, go read 1-3 before you proceed or you’re going to miss some good stuff! Smooches! ❤️
“Listen Fe. I think that we’ve both been worried about each other so much that it’s stopped us from truly living our own lives. I’ve been so overly protective of you because I don’t want to see you hurt and I don’t want to lose my baby, but you’re not a baby, you’re a grown woman. You’re a wise, smart, driven, beautiful and compassionate grown woman and I love you. Losing your mother and your grandfather was devastating and I’ve been holding on to you so tightly out of fear that if I let go, I’d lose you too. Now, I don’t think it’s anything wrong with holding on to those we love, but if we do it out of fear, it’s wrong, and I apologize. I’ve also learned that holding on too tight, will either run your loved ones away or it will cause them to be unhappy because they’re trying to please you instead of living their best life. We must allow our loved ones to find out who they are outside of us, and you have, but I feel like your worries about me, has also held you back. I let you go physically, almost a decade ago, but I never truly released you, but today I am. I’m trusting God that you will be okay, just as you’ve been. It hasn’t been me protecting you all these years, even though I’ve been quite overly protective. It’s been God, and I release you to Him and trust His will for your life. With that being said, I promise to mind my business and start living my life. I’m sixty eight and I have another shot at real love, and I’m going to take it, now that I’ve made room. It’s just a shame that it took this long for me to realize everything, but I’m glad that it’s not too late because your grandma is getting her groove back,” she laughed. “Okay first of all, yuck grandma. Secondly, thank you for that. I feel the same way and agree with you one hundred percent. I don’t think I’ve ever made room in my heart for anyone except you, since Devin… well, you know. It’s been almost ten years and even though he broke my heart, I still love him. But, I don’t want to be with him. I’ll probably always love him, but my heart belongs to someone else. It always has. I just wish it wasn’t too late for us,” Fiona said sadly. Her grandmother placed her index finger beneath Fiona’s chin and lifted her chin up. “Who says it’s too late?” her grandmother said softly and looking into her eyes. “Tell Deandre how you feel. He can’t read your mind, baby,” she said. “Grandma, how did you,” Fiona said before her grandmother cut her off. “I know. Like you’ve said, your heart has always belonged to him, and I knew it ever since you brought his little twelve year old big headed behind in my house tracking mud all over my carpets, and you asking, “Grandma, can my friend Deandre stay over until his momma get home from work?” her grandmother said in a girly tone. They both laughed. “I started to say no, but it was raining outside. I had just gotten my carpets cleaned the day before that too,” her grandmother said jokingly. They both laughed again. “But he was such a good, well mannered little boy. Cute too. I couldn’t help but love him,” her grandmother said with a smile. “Yeah, you’re right grandma. I’m going to go over there right now and tell him how I feel. When I get back, we’re going to talk about how I’ve always known you loved Mr. Harold too,” Fiona said while running upstairs. to get dressed. Mr. Harold was walking in the door as Fiona was talking. He came into the kitchen and said, “I’m back, and I love you too.” He took Ms. Cat’s hand and kissed it. She smiled. “Oh, you heard that huh?” Ms. Cat said. “Of course, I did,” Mr. Harold said. “I told you years ago, I’m gonna make you love me, like Diana Ross and the Supremes and the Temptations, baby,” he said before snapping his fingers in the air and proceeding to cut a rug. Ms. Cat joined in the dance with him for a minute, then she said, “Hey, we got some cakes and pies to bake. We can’t dance the day away.” They both laughed, then Harold said, “You’re right. I got my secret ingredient for the sweet potato pie too,” he said with a smile and shaking a spice container labeled secret ingredient, in the air. “Yeah, what’s the secret ingredient?” Mrs. Cat asked. “The secret ingredient is a secret,” Harold replied. Then Fiona ran downstairs and before running out the door, she said. “Wish me luck, grandma!” Ms. Cat said, “You don’t need luck baby, you got his heart.” Fiona didn’t see Deandre’s truck parked at his parents house, but she went over anyway. His mom said that He and his dad went to get firewood and few other things for the house, but they should be back soon. She asked Fiona if she wanted to wait, but Fiona said no. Instead, she called him as she walked back to her grandmother’s house, but he didn’t answer. She left a voice message telling him that she needed to talk to him about something important and to call her back or come by her grandmother’s house as soon as possible. As she hung up, Devin pulled up. “Ready to go?” he said still seated in his SUV, with the window down. “Yeah, about that,” Fiona said, as she walked up to the driver’s side window where he was seated. “Devin, I’m sorry, but I’m not going ice skating with you today.” “Why not? What’s wrong? he asked with a concerned look. “Do we need to postpone?” he asked. “No, there won’t be a date number two. I’m in love with someone,” she said. Devin held his head down and nodded. “Deandre, right?” “Yes,” she said with a nod. “I can’t do anything but respect it,” he said. “It was good seeing you again Fefe,” he said. “Take care of yourself,” he said, before pulling off. Fiona went back into the house. “Hi honey, how did it go?” her grandmother asked. “He’s not home yet,” Fiona said. It smells so good in here,” she said walking into the kitchen. “I’m going to go to the mall right quick, to find a dress to wear tomorrow,” Fiona said. “It’s going to be crazy out there today,” her grandmother said. “You didn’t pack anything to wear for Christmas?” “I did, but I want to dress up tomorrow. I packed something casual, but I want to wear something fancy tomorrow. “Uhh, fancy huh,” her grandmother said. You want to look extra saucy for Deandre huh?” her grandmother said. “Grandma,” Fiona said shyly. Then she turned around and threw one hand in the air waving goodbye, “I’ll see y’all later,” Fiona said. “Okay, be safe out there,” her grandmother said. “Bye Fiona,” Harold said. When Fiona got to the mall she went into a couple department stores and then she went into a boutique, where she found a fitted sequin robe dress. As she was coming out the boutique, she saw Deandre and his dad. She waved to them and they waved back. They all began walking towards each other right before Carol Porter walked up to Deandre. She hugged him and then kissed him on the lips. Fiona immediately turned around and went the opposite way. “Fe, wait,” Deandre yelled, but Fiona did not stop. Deandre began to follow Fiona but Carol stopped him by grabbing his hand and saying, “Just let her go. You know, we gotta stop meeting like this,” she said playing in her long waving tresses with one of her hands and holding Deandre’s hand with the other. First the grocery store, now the mall. I think fate’s trying to tell us something, don’t you?” she said. “Yeah,” Deandre said. “I think it’s trying to tell you to know when to quit. Look Carol, ten years ago we were two different people. I’m just not that guy anymore,” Deandre said. “What guy? The guy who loved me? Come on baby, I was your first love. You’re never going to get over me,” Carol said holding Deandre’s hand. “Watch me,” Deandre said as he turned away from Carol. “Come on pop. Let’s go,” he said to his dad. When Fiona got back to her grandmother’s house, she wiped her eyes from crying, and put on a happy face before walking in. She pretended as if nothing happened at the mall. She went inside and hung out with her grandmother and Harold all day, but she went to bed early. Her grandmother knew something was wrong though, because Fiona’s energy was off. She didn’t bother her though, she gave her space. It was all a part of letting go. She knew that if Fiona wanted to talk to her about whatever issue she had, then she would. So, she waited. The next morning was Christmas.

This is part three guys! So make sure you’ve read both one and two. It’s getting good! Lol enjoy!
It was five days before Christmas, which meant Fiona had five days to make a decision. She got a phone call from the executive’s assistant to see if she’d made a decision about the job offer. She told the assistant no, but she’d have an answer by Christmas, as planned. The assistant said, “Well, that’s why I’m calling. The other candidate is ready to accept the offer. She has the same experience as you and she’s already living in South Carolina. So, we need for you to make a decision today. If not now, then before five ‘o’clock this evening. We’d love to have you on our team. You made an impressive interview. I know it’s Christmas, but we need someone in that position by December twenty third, so that we can get them up to speed. You’d have Christmas Eve and Christmas off, but the day after Christmas is when the presentation to the board of directors has to be made, and we are confident that your knowledge, experience and confidence will win them over. Think about it. Mr. Charles is willing to raise your annual salary by ten percent,” the woman said. “Wow, okay. I’ll call you back shortly. Thank you so much,” Fiona said. Today was the day that Fiona planned on taking her grandmother out to be pampered and have dinner. They both got ready, and they began with a full body massage. Then they got their hair and nails done. They both enjoyed themselves, but at dinner, her grandmother could tell that something was on her mind. Fiona kept looking at her phone. It was four fifteen in the afternoon. “What’s wrong Fe? You’ve looked at your phone a hundred times in the last hour. Are you expecting a phone call?” her grandmother asked. “No. Well, actually I need to make a phone call but I need some advice,” Fiona said. “How would you feel if I moved back home?” “I’d love it. You know that Fe. But why? Isn’t everything going great in NewYork?” her grandmother asked. “Yes. It is. I just miss being near you grandma. I worry about you.” “Fiona, I’m fine. How many times do I have to tell you that? If you’re going to make a big decision like this, don’t let it be on account of me. You need to make sure that it’s the right move for you,” her grandmother said. “I know grandma. I just don’t want you to be alone.” “Listen, honey. God got me. I’m good. And your aunt and uncle only lives an hour away. And did you forget, Harold lives next door. I’m never really alone. I stay thoroughly entertained,” she said with a laugh. “Yes,” I guess you’re right,” Fiona said. “If you’re not okay up there, you know that you always have a home here. Be honest with yourself though. Don’t make it about me. What are your thoughts? How do you feel? Have you talked to God about it? What did He say?” her grandmother said. “Well, uhm.” Before Fiona could finish speaking, Deandre and his first love walked in the restaurant. Fiona blinked several times. “Wow. Carol Porter?” she said. “Fiona?” Carol said. “Yes, hi. What are you guys doing here?” Fiona asked. “Hey Fefe. I saw Carol in the supermarket yesterday,” Deandre said. “Yes,” Carol interrupted. “And he asked me out to dinner. I said yes,” she said giddily. The hostess told Deandre and Carol that the wait would be thirty minutes. “Oh, please join us. There’s two extra chairs here,” Fiona said. “Is that okay?” Fiona asked the hostess. “Of course,” the hostess said. They all sat and talked. Carol kept rubbing Deandre’s muscular arms, flirting with him and smiling in his face. Fiona was a bit bothered but she brushed it off. After all, Deandre was her childhood bestie, and nothing more. At least that’s what she told herself. Deandre really seemed to be into Carol as well. “I guess old loves die hard,” she said to herself. She looked at her phone it was four fifty eight. She quickly excused herself from the table and went into the restroom to tell the executive assistant her decision.
The next day was Sunday. Fiona and her grandmother got up and went to church. Everyone was happy to see Fiona. She’d grown up in this church, and everyone knew that she’d moved to NewYork. It was nice for Fiona to see her pastor, members and people that she grew up with. Then, he walked through the door. The pastor’s son, Devin Mitchell. Fiona’s first love and the man who also broke her heart by dumping her for guess who? Yes, Carol Porter. “Fiona,” he said holding out his arms for a hug. Her grandmother stood in the middle of them with her arms folded. “Devin,” her grandmother said with her arms folded and a serious look on her face. “Ms. Cat,” Devin said hugging Fiona’s grandmother, with her arms still folded. She rolled her eyes. “It’s okay, grandma,” Fiona said. Fiona knew her grandmother still felt some type of way about Devin breaking her heart. Fiona also knew that her grandmother knew that Fiona really attended college in NewYork because she wanted to get as far away from Devin as possible. Fiona never said it, but her grandmother was right. Had Fiona and Devin stayed together, Fiona would’ve never left Greenville. “Devin,” Fiona said with a casual greet. “Dang, a brother can’t get a hug?” Devin said to Fiona. She gave him a little church hug. Then service began. After church, Devin asked Fiona out on a date. “I don’t know. Grandma and I have a lot to do for Christmas. I’m going to be pretty busy, but maybe another time,” Fiona said. “Fefe, please,” Devin said. “I haven’t seen you in a decade. Just one date and if you don’t want me to, I’ll never bother you again. “Give him the date so he’ll leave you alone child,” her grandmother said. Fiona and Devin both laughed. “Okay, one date,” Fiona agreed. “Cool, I’ll pick you up tomorrow around seven,” Devin said. “Okay,” Fiona said. The next day was Monday, December twenty third, and two days before Christmas. “Grandma, I’ll see you later, love ya, bye!” Fiona said rushing out of the door. Her grandmother said, “Hey. Good morning, but where are you,” the door shut behind Fiona. “Going?” her grandmother said finishing her question. Fiona’s grandmother called Deandre to see if he could take her Christmas shopping while Fiona was out. While they were on the way to the mall she said, “She just left without warning. I don’t know why or where to,” she said. “Ms. Cat, she’s probably out Christmas shopping too. She’s probably buying gifts for you and didn’t want you to come along and ruin the surprise,” Deandre said, trying to ease Ms. Cat’s worries. “That makes sense. You’re right,” she agreed. The day went by and Fiona didn’t get home until midnight, and she arrived with Devin. She was bearing a car full of gifts. “So, this is where you’ve been all day? With him?” her grandmother said. “Grandma?” Fiona said, like really? “Okay, you’re right. You’re a grown woman,” her grandmother said as she walked into the kitchen to fix herself something to drink. Devin and Fiona had to make three trips to the car. Fiona had all the gifts wrapped at the stores. “Well since you’re bearing gifts, I won’t fuss,” her grandmother said, as she went upstairs. Deandre saw Fiona’s car parked outside and decided to come over to see if everything was okay, since Ms. Cat was worried most of the day. When he came up to the porch, Fiona and Devin was at the top of the stairs laughing and hugging. Then Devin said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.” “Okay. Bye,” Fiona said like a school girl with a crush. Deandre slowly walked up the steps looking Devin up and down as Devin jogged downstairs. Hey, my main man Deandre,” Devin said pausing at the bottom of the steps extending his hand to shake Deandre’s. “Devin,” Deandre said looking at Devin’s hand and turning around to continue up the stairs. “That was rude, Deandre,” Fiona said opening the screen door and walking inside with Deandre fast on her tracks. “Rude? That dude tore your heart into pieces and you’re out here lollygagging all day with this cat, while me and your grandma are here worried about you?” he said. “Awww,” Fiona laughed. That’s sweet. You were worried about me? Give me a hug,” she said welcoming Deandre with both hands. “Come on. Bring it in,” she said. “No,” Deandre said like a pouting kid. “Aww,” Fiona laughed. “Why? Come here. You know you want to.” Then she looked into Deandre eyes and stepped back. “Wait a minute. Do I detect a bit of jealousy?” she asked. “Pssh. What? Jealous? Of who? That cat?” Deandre asked trying to hide his true emotions. “Yeah,” Fiona said walking closer. “That cat,” she said smiling in amusement of how cute Deandre was when he was jealous. She hugged him and he couldn’t help but hug her back. “I love you Fefe,” he said while Fiona was in his embrace. “I,” Fiona said, before her grandmother came back downstairs interrupting. “I can’t sleep. I don’t know why I even went upstairs. I want to know what happened on this date,” her grandmother said. I know you’re glad that it’s over with. Now his annoying behind can leave you alone,” she said. Deandre laughed, sarcastically. “What? What did I miss?” her grandmother asked. “Well, he’s definitely not going anywhere. That’s for sure,” Deandre said. “Really, Deandre? What about you and Carol?” “What about me and Carol? That was a one time thing where two old friends caught up. Wait? Is that why you went on a date with Devin?” “Ah, no. Don’t be a moron Deandre. My life doesn’t revolve around you. I went on a date with Devin because I wanted to,” Fiona said. “And you’re seeing him again tomorrow?” he asked. “Sure,” Fiona said. “Okay,” he said. “I gotta go. I have to get up early to help my dad with something. Goodnight,” he said before walking out the door. “Well that went left real quick. What is going on?” her grandmother asked. “Not tonight grandma. If you don’t mind, I’ve had a long day, and I just need some rest,” Fiona said before kissing her grandmother on the cheek and then walking upstairs to her bedroom. The next morning, Fiona woke up to Christmas music and her grandmother dancing and baking all of her desserts on Christmas Eve as usual. “Good morning,” Fiona smiled while tying her robe. Then she gave her grandmother a kiss on the cheek. “Good morning baby doll,” her grandmother said while rolling out a pie crust. “Someone’s in a good mood,” Fiona said getting a bowl out of the cabinet and a spoon out the drawer, about to make her some cereal. Mr. Harold came into the kitchen. “Mr. Harold? Wait a minute. Where did you come from?” “I came over to show your grandmother how to really throw down in the kitchen,” he said. “Wait,” so you’re just here to cook. You didn’t.” Her grandmother interrupted, “What? Spend a night. Please, Fe. You know me better than that,” her grandmother said. “Why would you think that anyway?” her grandmother asked. “I don’t know grandma. You’re right. Sorry. My mind has been all over the place. I wasn’t thinking clearly. I do know you better than that,” Fiona said poring her bran flakes. Are you going to tell her or am I going to tell her,” Harold said. “Tell me what grandma?” Fiona asked. “Well, Harold and I are officially dating,” her grandmother said. “What? That’s great. When did this happen?” Fiona asked. “Actually, a few minutes ago. He called me and asked me out. I said yes, I’d go on a date with him. Then I invited him over,” her grandmother said. “Well, it’s about time,” Fiona said. “Persistence is key,” Harold said. “Wait, I forgot my secret ingredient. I’ll be right back,” Harold said leaving out the front door. “Secret ingredient,” Fiona and her grandmother said simultaneously. I wonder what that is?” Fiona said. “Who knows,” Fiona’s grandmother said. They both laughed.

Hey loves! This is part 2 of “Underneath the Mistletoe”. So make sure you’ve read part 1 first. Thanks. Enjoy!
The next morning, Fiona, her grandmother and Deandre got up bright and early to get a tree. Fiona and her grandmother cheered Deandre on as he cut down the six foot Blue Spruce. Deandre couldn’t help but blush, showing off his deep dimples and pearly white teeth. Fiona smiled back and imagined Deandre as a tall cup of hot chocolate. Her mind went elsewhere and she couldn’t hear her grandmother talking to her. “Fe. Fe! Fiona,” her grandmother yelled, while tapping Fiona’s shoulder. Fiona was licking her lips, but quickly snapped out of it when she felt her grandmother’s tap and yell. Deandre laughed and shook his head. Her grandmother pointed to Deandre’s truck and said, “Can you pull the truck up?” “Oh, yes ma’am. Sorry. I was uhm,” Fiona said before her grandmother cut her off. “We know, we know child. Fantasizing about hot chocolate. We heard you mumbling about it,” she said with a smile and patting Fiona on the back to hurry her off to go and get the truck. “I think that I’m going to go over to the cafe and get us all some hot chocolate. Do you still like yours the same way, with mini marshmallows and a pinch of cinnamon?” Fiona’s grandmother asked Deandre. “Yes, ma’am. I can’t believe you remember that,” he said. “Of course I remember. Fiona still drinks hers that way as well. I’ll be right back,” she told Deandre. Fiona pulled the truck up while Deandre was tying the rope around the tree. “Where did grandma go?” she asked. “Oh, just to get us hot chocolate,” Deandre said with grin. “Good, because it’s chilly out here. And what are you grinning for?” Fiona asked. “Nothing,” Deandre said, still smiling. Just then, Fiona’s grandmother walked up with a cup holder and three cups of hot cocoa. “Chilly? Child you’ve been living in NewYork for almost ten years. This South Carolina weather should feel good to you. Now here,” she said taking Fiona’s cup of hot chocolate out of the cup holder and handing it to her. “You look thirsty,” her grandmother said with a giggle. “Oh, really grandma. So, you have jokes?” Fiona said. “I’m just saying. You look more thirsty than chilly. Drink up,” she said with a smile. “Come on grandma, let’s get you in the truck,” Fiona said, as they headed back to the truck. Deandre walked behind them with the tree. On the way to Fiona’s grandmother’s house, her grandmother was writing a list of everything else she needed for Christmas. “I don’t want to overwhelm you all in one day, but we still need to shop for food and Christmas decorations. Maybe we can do that tomorrow. I know that the two of you may want to spend some quality time together. “Oh, no grandma. We’re fine,” Fiona said. “What do you need?” Her grandmother began to name all the food items and it was a lot. Instead of Deandre getting off at the exit to go home, he kept going and headed to the supermarket. “And you know your uncle is lactose intolerant, so we need to get him Lactaid milk. And your auntie is vegan now, child. She likes that oat milk,” her grandmother said, still talking about items she needed for Christmas. When they went inside the grocery store, they all split up, each taking a separate part of the list as they went to retrieve the food items. It took them thirty minutes to fill up each of their shopping carts. “Whew, grandma. This is a lot of Food,” Fiona said. “I know,” you must have forgotten how much your uncle and his family eats,” her grandmother joked. They went back to Fiona’s grandmother’s house and put up the groceries and the tree. “Grandma, if you want, we can all head back out and get the decorations for the yard and tree,” Fiona said. “Oh, no. Not today. I have a few things I need to do here, and I need to start on dinner. You two go ahead if you want,” her grandmother said. “Are you sure grandma? Are there any specific decorations you’d like?” Fiona asked. “Not really. Surprise me,” her grandmother said. Fiona and Deandre went to shop for decorations and came back later that night. When they got back, Fiona’s grandmother was asleep on the couch. Fiona placed her grandmother’s blanket over her and gave her a kiss. Then they began to decorate the tree and the inside of the house. After that, they went outside and decorated the yard. By this time, it was almost midnight. Fiona’s grandmother woke up and saw how beautiful her home and Christmas tree was with all the nice holiday decorations. She opened her door and when she did, Deandre was plugging the lights in, and the whole yard lit up. Her grandmother couldn’t believe it. “Oh, my goodness,” she smiled with her hand over her heart. “This is beautiful. Everything, is so beautiful. Thank you, both of you, so much.” She walked down the steps on the porch and into the yard where Deandre and Fiona was. Then she stood between them and held each of their hands, as they all admired the lights. “This will definitely be a Christmas that I’ll never forget,” her grandmother said. “Well, you definitely won’t forget that light bill. That’s for sure,” her neighbor Harold said, crossing over into Fiona’s grandma’s yard. “It looks nice though,” he said. “Mr. Harold. Hi. You still live here?” Fiona asked. Fiona gave him a hug. “Hey, Fiona. Yes, I’m still here. I’m hardly ever at home, but yes. I’m still here. I heard you were coming home, so I came by to say hello. I just came back home myself. I was on a cruise,” Harold said. “A cruise, Mr. Harold? With who?” Fiona asked. “Well, I tried to get your grandmother to come with me, but she turned me down. So, I went by myself,” he said. They all laughed. “Grandma, you still turning Mr. Harold down? It’s been at least two decades since he’s been asking you out,” Fiona said. “I don’t pay Harold any attention,” her grandmother said. “Come on, let’s go inside. It’s cold out here,” she told Fiona. “Bye Harold. Bye Deandre and thanks for everything. Love you,” her grandmother said. “Yes, thanks for everything,” Fiona said to Deandre. “No problem, I love y’all too,” Deandre said. “Goodnight Mr. Harold,” Fiona said. “Goodnight Fiona. Love you Cat,” Harold said to Fiona’s grandmother. “Go home Harold,” Fiona’s grandmother said.

Hey y’all! Just wanted to say, I love you guys! You all rock! Thanks for reading my Christmas stories. This is the third Christmas story I’ve written. Yay me! Lol Anyway, you all know that each story has several parts. This is part one of “Underneath the mistletoe”. Enjoy!
“Is that you Fiona?” her grandmother said adjusting her glasses with one hand, and holding her hip with another as she slowly walked towards her front door. Fiona smiled outside the screen door as she watched her grandmother come greet her. “Yes, it’s me. Hi, grandma.” Her grandmother unlatched the screen door. “Hey, baby. Welcome home,” her grandmother said opening the screen door for Fiona to come in. Fiona dropped her suitcases by the door and gave her grandmother a big hug. “Oh, grandma. I miss you so much. It’s so good to be home.” “It’s so good to have you home, baby. Take off your coat and relax. Dinner will be ready soon. Oh, there’s a surprise waiting for you in the kitchen too,” her grandmother said slowly walking back to the kitchen. “A surprise for me?” Fiona couldn’t wait to see what it was. Growing up, her grandmother would surprise her with homemade frosted sugar cookies. They were Fiona’s favorite, especially around the holidays when she’d help her grandmother make the cookies using the Christmas cookie cutters. Fiona couldn’t wait to turn the corner, but when she did there was no cookies. Instead it was her childhood best friend, Deandre. It felt like time stopped for a moment and everything was happening in slow motion. She couldn’t believe it. Fiona paused for a second as they both smiled at each other. Then it was as if time began to move again and Fiona rushed towards Deandre. “Ahhh!” Fiona screamed with excitement as she held her arms out for a hug. “Deandre. I can’t believe it,” she said. He laughed and embraced her with a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. “Fefe,” he said in a deep sultry tone, while still holding her in his embrace. Grandma cleared her through, “ahem” she said. Fiona slowly came out of Deandre’s embrace. Still smiling, she said, “My goodness. Deandre, how long has it been? How are you?” “It’s been almost ten years, and I’m good. Better now that I see you,” he said. You know, our ten year high school reunion is coming up soon.” “Yeah, I saw that on Facebook. I can’t believe it’s been ten years already,” she said. “Right. So, how has life been treating you in the Big Apple?” he said. “Life has been good. Fast paced. Much different than home, but I’m glad to be back,” Fiona said. Her grandmother took her famous homemade shepherd’s pie out of the oven. “Y’all two, sit down.” her grandmother said. “Oh, no grandma. Let me help you with that.” “Child sit. I’m fine. As long as I can keep moving, I’m good,” her grandmother said. Her grandmother sat the pie on the table. They all said grace and dug in. They laughed as they all talked and reminisced. “The two of you were inseparable as kids,” her grandmother said. It’s good to see the two of you back together. The chemistry is still there. It’s as if neither of you ever left.” “So, how long are you going to be in town?” Fiona asked Deandre. “Well, actually I moved back a couple of months ago,” he said. “Really?” “Yeah,” the company I work for is expanding and as you know our small hometown here in Greenville is growing pretty fast,” he said. “I see,” Fiona said. “It seems as if Greenville’s catching up with other popular cities in South Carolina.” “Yes, it is. I’ve had three different offers for my house in the past four months. I keep telling those people. I’m not selling my home,” Fiona’s grandmother said. “Grandma, why not? I told you that you can come and live with me,” Fiona said. “Ha! Where? In New York? No thanks Fe. I’m a country girl. I wouldn’t know what to do in a big city like New York for more than a week.” “Grandma. You wouldn’t have to do anything. Unless you wanted to. You’ve taken care of me most of my life. Let me take care of you. The only thing I’d like you to do is cook, but even that’s optional. You can do what you want. Come and see all that New York has to offer,” Fiona said. “I’ve seen enough each year you fly me out there, and to be honest, I don’t miss it child. It’s just too much going on, and the people drive like they’re all mad,” her grandmother said. They all laughed. “Okay, grandma. If you insist on staying, I’ll leave you alone.” “Good, because I’m staying right here. This house has been in my family for five generations, and when I’m gone on to glory, I will pass it down to you,” her grandmother said. Her grandmother cleared the dinner that and brought out a plate of her homemade Christmas sugar cookies. Fiona was thrilled. Each bite brought back a childhood memory. “Um, um, umm. So good grandma. Thank you,” Fiona said. “You’re welcome, baby. Now I’m spoiling the two of you today, because I need for the two of you to help me pick out a Christmas tree and decorate the house tomorrow. Your aunt and uncle and their families are all coming over this Christmas, because they heard that you were in town. You know that I’m normally in NewYork with you on Christmas, so I haven’t had a Christmas tree or decorated my yard in years, but I have a feeling that this Christmas is going to be very special,” her grandmother said. “Yes, ma’am,” Deandre said. “I will be over bright and early in the morning.” Fiona walked Deandre outside. He crossed the street and went to his parents house. Fiona walked back inside her grandmother’s house, and then closed and locked the doors. Her grandmother was looking at photos of Fiona’s mom who had died when Fiona was two, and photos of Fiona’s grandfather who had died when Fiona was five. “I miss them both,” her grandmother said. “I know you do. I miss them too,” Fiona said. Fiona hugged her grandmother. She loved and admired her. She had suffered great loss but she was still so very strong. Fiona thought about how guilty she felt when she was about to go off to college in NewYork, but her grandmother encouraged her to follow her dreams and not to worry about her. Fiona still worried. She didn’t want her grandmother to be by herself. Sure, her grandmother has a brother and sister, but they have their own families. Fiona hadn’t told her grandmother yet, but she’d gotten a job offer thirty minutes away from her grandmother’s house. The pay was the same, but Fiona would be with her grandmother and that mattered more than anything, however, she wasn’t ready to give up her life in the big city. She had a lot to think about and she had to make a decision by Christmas, which was seven days away.

Hi everyone! This is part 3 of “If ornaments could talk”. If you haven’t read part 1 and 2, stop and read those first! ❤️ This is the last part of this story.
Enjoy!

“Wow, these stories are really fascinating,” the bride inside the crystal ornament said. Then the ornaments attention was focused on Mr. Jones who was tapping his fork against his wine glass. “Everyone, I’d like to make a toast,” Mr. Jones said. “To family and friends. Thank you for joining us for our annual Christmas party. Your love and support over the years means everything to us. We’re so very blessed to have you all in our lives. Some of you we’ve known for a very long time and some, not very long, but we are grateful for each and every one of you. We love you, we appreciate you, and we pray God’s continued blessings over your lives,” he held up his glass of Chardonnay. “To family and friends, because love is what life’s all about,” he said looking around at everyone. “To family and friends,” everyone said as they made a toast. “Mr. and Mrs. Jones has come a long way from where they began,” the groom in the crystal ornament said. “Yes they have,” Red said. “That is why they’re so grateful, but surely you and the bride have a story of your own. We’ve all shared our stories with the two of you, how about telling us your story?” “I don’t know, Red.” The groom in the crystal ornament said, as he scratched his tiny crystal head. “Our story isn’t as deep or meaningful as everyone else’s. In fact, I feel kind of bad, because we’ve always had it easy. I’d rather not share our story because I don’t want it to sound as if I’m boasting. You all deserve to be here. You’ve all went through something. Red, you felt invisible before Mrs. Jones saw you. Some of you were broken, thrown in the trash, or abandoned in department store parking lots before the Jones’s found you. Others were personally created out of love or given as gift. I’m starting to wonder, why are we even here. I don’t feel like we deserve to hang beside you guys. We haven’t earned our place on this beautiful tree,” the crystal groom said. The crystal bride rubbed the crystal grooms back. “It’s okay honey,” the crystal bride said. We must be here for a reason. I believe the reason has nothing to do with us earning a spot on this magnificent tree. I believe we are here because we are chosen to be here. None of us are here because of who we are. We are here because the Jones’s chose us! We’re all chosen, whether we have a good story, bad story, happy or even sad story to tell. Our story reminds us of how far we’ve come, and like the Jones’s, our stories keep humble and grateful. Without the Jones’s, where would any of us be? Me and the groom would probably be somewhere where we didn’t even know awesome ornaments like you exist. We’d probably take our position on the tree for granted because we’d think we deserved the spot because we’re desired, loved and valuable. But here, we’re all desired, loved and valuable. Our past doesn’t matter as much as this very moment. We each represent something special to the Jones’s and we are what makes their Christmas tree. When they look at us, they see love. So, let’s continue to make them happy and loved by sharing in their Christmas traditions for as long as we can, because without them, there’s no guarantee where any of us would be,” the crystal bride said. The crystal groom smiled and hugged the crystal bride. “See, that’s why I married you,” the crystal groom said as he embraced the crystal bride and gave her a kiss. “Well, now we know why the Jones’s chose you. You’re humble, wise, grateful and you have a heart of Gold. Much like the Jones’s. I see much of them in you. They must have seen it too,” Red said to the crystal bride and groom ornament. “This may just be one of the very best Christmas’s yet,” Red said. The other ornaments agreed. Then Mr. and Mrs. Jones came over to their tree and began to look at all the ornaments. They laughed and even wiped a few happy tears as each ornament brought back loving memories of Christmas past. Merry Christmas baby,” Mrs. Jones said standing beside Mr. Jones. She took one arm and wrapped it around Mr. Jones back. He wrapped his arm around her back and pulled her close to his side, then he kissed her on the cheek. “Merry Christmas,” he said, as the two of them continued to admire every single ornament on their tree. The End. 🎄

Hey, y’all! Be sure to read part one first! Thanks! Hope you enjoy!

Ornament number two is a snow globe ornament that Mrs. Jones found at a yard sale while she and Mr. Jones were supposed to be buying a nice set of lawn chairs. “How is it that when we go somewhere to get one specific item, you also find an ornament?” Mr. Jones said. “Oh, I don’t know. I just have a gift for finding things I guess,” Mrs. Jones said with a smile. “Specifically ornaments,” Mr. Jones smiled back before paying for both ornament and lawn chairs. Ornament number three was purchased by Mr. Jones. Mrs. Jones had given birth to their first born child a few weeks before Christmas. As they both put up the tree and hung the decorations, Mr. Jones gave Mrs. Jones a gift. When she opened it, she was thrilled. It was an ornament with a photo of him, Mrs. Jones and their newborn baby inside. It was engraved on the outside as “First Christmas”, signifying the baby’s first Christmas and their first Christmas as parents. Ornament number four was found in a parking lot outside a department store. Four was about to get ran over, until Mrs. Jones yelled, “Stop,” to a driver who was backing up. She quickly grabbed the ornament that was an inch away from being crushed. Are you insane,” Mr. Jones said running behind her. “You could’ve gotten ran over. What was it that’s so important that it could’ve cost you your life?” he said. Mrs. Jones slowly lifted the hotdog ornament in the air. “I know you did not just risk your life over a hot dog… ornament!” he said. Mrs. Jones thought the hot dog was worth the risk. Mr. Jones was shook because she came within an inch of being flattened like a pancake and he almost had a heart attack, because he thought he was about to lose his wife. Ornaments five through nine were unique Christmas ornaments all purchased at various stores. Ornament number ten was made by their first born at school. Ten was a stick snowman made out of sticks, glue, buttons and ribbon. Throughout the years, Mrs. Jones would find ornaments in the wildest places. She found a couple in her neighbors trash. She took one that was chipped from out of a dust pan that a store clerk was sweeping up. By then Mrs. and Mr. Jones had three kids and the kids would be embarrassed at what they mom would go through to make an ornament her very own. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure I guess,” the store clerk said. Each year one special ornament continued to be added to the tree. There was a Humpty Dumpty ornament that couldn’t be put back together again, so one of the kids taped it together. “Oh, Lord. Not my kids too Jesus,” Mr. Jones said as he looked to Heaven. There were ornaments that light up, only they didn’t… and Mrs. Jones took them home and hung them on their tree anyway. There were special ornaments from the discount store. Tiny angels, nativity scenes, stars, Christmas trees, ornaments that were handmade by the kids and more. “Mom, why can’t we just be like everyone else and buy the boxes of multiple ornaments?” the oldest kid asked. “Well,” Mrs. Jones said. “There’s something special about being different. It may be harder than following the crowd, but it always pays off in the end. Also, we don’t want a tree like everyone else’s,” she said. “We don’t?” the kids asked. “Of course not. Our tree has meaning because it’s filled with ornaments that tells a story. Our ornaments has purpose,” she said with a smile. “Yeah, the purpose of ornaments is to hang on the tree and look pretty,” the youngest Jones said. “No, my little one. That may be the purpose of everything else we put on the tree, but the purpose of the ornaments is to tell a story and to give us fond memories and hope. Isn’t it fun when we sit fireside and tell each ornament story?” “Yeah,” the kids agreed. “It makes it special,” the middle child said. “Yes. Exactly,” Mrs. Jones smiled.

So, I’m back with a brand new Christmas story! I hope you all enjoyed the last one! I told you all that I would be doing this all season long and I intend on keeping my word. So, the last story was “A Christmas Carol – Remix”, which was inspired by Charles Dickens, of course! This next story is an original. The idea of it popped into my mind when my mother was telling my kids how long some of the ornaments that she and my dad have, been around. Anyway, without further ado, I present to you part one of my short story, “If ornaments could talk”. P.S. Be on the lookout for the parts that follow. 🙂

It was a glorious tree. The Balsam Fir stood eight feet tall and it was topped with a star that projected an explosion of shimmering lights across the ceiling, and matched the beautifully decorated lights that gracefully wrapped around the tree. It was woven with large strings of silver and gold ribbon, candy canes galore, red berries and poinsettias, silver bells, and various Christmas ornaments who each had a story of how they got there. It was customary for the Jones couple to buy one special ornament together, each year. Sometimes they bought them, sometimes they received them as a gift. This year, the couple had been married forty years and to commemorate forty Christmas’s together they decided to buy a crystal ball ornament with a bride and groom inside. It was beautiful. All of the other ornaments were in awe. “Woooow!” they all said. “Hello,” both the bride and groom inside of the Crystal ornament said. “Hi,” the other ornaments said. “Mr. and Mrs. Jones have gotten fancy,” one of the ornaments said. Then the bride in the Crystal ball said, “But we’re all fancy. Are we not all on the same tree?” Then the very first ornament the Jones’s bought said, “No, you don’t understand. Some of us come from very humble beginnings.” “Oh, please would you share your story with me? Oh, please,” the crystal bride said as she looked around at the other ornaments. “Sure,” the other ornaments agreed. The very first ornament the Jones bought was Red. Red was his name and he was the color red as well. The couple found red at a thrift shop. Red had been sitting on the shelf for years. “I remember when I was seen for the first time,” Red said. “Mrs. Jones picked me up off the shelf, blew the dust off of me and gently wiped me off.” “Honey, look at this one,” she said. Mr. Jones came over and said, “But honey, we’re not here for an ornament. We’re here for this longcase clock.” “I know,” the young Mrs. Jones said while looking up at Mr. Jones with her puppy dog eyes. “But can’t we have him, to put on our little tree?” “How could I resist those eyes,” he said to her. “Thank you honey,” Mrs. Jones said as she gave Mr. Jones a peck on the lips. “Then she ran off like a little kid and sat in the truck admiring me,” Red said. “She called me beautiful. No one had ever called me beautiful before.” Mr. Jones was in the thrift shop paying for the clock and me, but he only had forty dollars for the clock. He didn’t have any more money left to buy me. You see, back then, Mr. and Mrs. Jones didn’t have much money but they had a lot of love. Mr. Jones was about to tell Mrs. Jones that he couldn’t buy me, when the thrift store owner said, “Take it. It’s a gift. Merry Christmas.” That first Christmas, Mrs. Jones admired me more than the clock. “Honey, every time I turn around, you’re rubbing and smiling at that ornament,” Mr. Jones said. “That ornament gets more attention than me,” he joked. “I wish that I knew it was really the ornament you wanted instead of the clock. It would’ve saved us forty dollars.” “Oh, honey. Don’t be silly. You know that I love you, and the clock, but do you know how valuable this ornament is?” Mrs. Jones said. “It looks like a plain old ornament to me,” Mr. Jones said. “Yes, well, looks can be deceiving. This ornament is an antique. It’s valuable.” I thought that I was a regular glass ornament. Really, I felt less than an ornament. Especially since my first family only used me once and then donated me to the thrift shop where I was there too overlooked. But then Mrs. Jones saw that I was vintage. I wasn’t just a regular old glass teardrop ornament. She knew about the small details that made me unique. She knew more about me than I knew about myself. I was so happy that I had a home and a family, and someone who saw the best in me when I couldn’t see it in myself. I had sat in that thrift shop for years collecting dust. No one ever wanted me, but then, there was Mrs. Jones.” (Billy Paul’s “Me and Mrs. Jones” begins to softly play in the background as Red reminisce) The groom in the crystal ball ornament clears his throat while the other ornaments looks awkwardly at Red. “Oh, may be inappropriate, just a little bit?” Red asked. The other ornaments sarcastically agreed, “Yeah, maybe just a little.” “Just a little,” the crystal bride said making a pinch. “Anyway, that was the best Christmas I’ve ever had, as I hang proudly on what was then, a very humble four inch tree.”

Hi everyone! Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃 Hopefully you’re all caught up. If not, go back and read parts 1-5, before you read part 6. This is the final part! Yay! If you’re all set, let’s jump right into it. Much love. ❤️ 

Carol was awakened by sounds of children playing in the snow. She opened her blinds, and lifted her window up. It did her heart good to see some of the kids making a snow man, as others slid down the snowy hills on sleds and snow tubes. “Hey you,” a couple kids who were playing in the snow in Carol’s yard, looked up and took off running when they heard her voice. They knew Carol as the mean lady. “No, please come back,” she said to the kids who kept running. “What day is it?” she yelled. A teenager who was walking by, heard Carol ask what day it is, and he yelled up to Carol, “It’s Christmas!” “Really? It’s Christmas? I didn’t miss it? I didn’t die? I still have a chance?” Carol yelled back to the young man. “Umm, sure, I mean, I guess. I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the teenager yelled back, confusingly. Then he smiled, waved and continued to walk by. He shook his head. “What a weirdo,” he said to himself. “Merry Christmas everyone!” Carol yelled out of her window. She closed her window and checked her phone. It was seven am. She called Romona and told her that she could take Christmas off. She asked her to call all the other employees and tell them not to come in as well. “Everyone gets paid for today and a holiday bonus as well,” Carol said. Romona was thrilled. “Thank you Carol. Thank you so much.” “No, thank you Romona. You’ve been my best friend and the best executive assistant anyone could ever dream of having. I want you to know that I appreciate everything you do. This company could not function without you. That’s why I’m promoting you to CFO.” Romona screamed. She told her fiancé, “Baby, Carol just promoted me to Chief Financial Officer. Ahhh, she screamed with excitement, again. Thank you so much Carol, and Merry Christmas.” “Merry Christmas Romona, and take care of Slim Jim.” “Okay, I will,” Romona said, not knowing Carol knew he was sick. After Carol got off the phone with Romona, she called Xavier. He didn’t pick up though. She tried to call him again. Still no answer. Carol jumped in the shower and got dressed. Then she went to the shelter where Xavier volunteers, but not before stopping by the ATM. She wished she could have bought gifts, but who doesn’t like money? “Merry Christmas,” she said, while passing out envelopes with cash inside. The guy who volunteered to ring the bell near Carol’s office was there. He was shocked to see Carol at the shelter. He couldn’t believe that she was there, and she was giving out money. She even gave him an envelope of cash. During the afternoon, Xavier came by bearing gifts and ready to serve. He was thrilled to see Carol inside. “Carol?” he said in disbelief. “Wait a minute. I must be dreaming,” he said. “Somebody pinch me.” Just then, Miss thing walked up and pinched Xavier. “Ouch,” he said. “Well at least you’re not dreaming,” she said. Xavier introduced the ladies. “So, you’re the lucky lady,” the woman said. Carol looked up at Xavier and smiled, “I am,” Carol said. Xavier smiled down at Carol and pulled her close. “Actually, I’m a very lucky man,” he said before giving Carol a peck on the lips. “Well, alrighty then,” the woman said as she walked off. “Zay,” Carol said. “I’m so sorry.” “Shhh,” Xavier said putting a finger over Carol’s lips. “Forget about it. All that matters to me is that you’re right here, right now,” he said. “I love you,” Carol said. “Wait, what,” Xavier said jokingly. “Did you say the ‘L’ word.” “I did,” Carol said. “And I meant it. You’re an amazing man Xavier and I admire, respect and love the heck out of you,” she grabbed his shirt and pulled him close to her and they began to kiss. “Whew Chile, It’s getting hot in herre,” one of the guests at the shelter said (in her Nelly voice). The manager at the shelter insisted that Xavier and Carol go home and spend Christmas together. “Honestly, you’ve done more than enough,” she said. “We’ve got this. Besides, if the two of you keep going at it like this, I’m gonna get pregnant,” she said jokingly. “Go ahead love birds. Get out of here.” As they walked out of the building, Carol said. “I want you to come with me somewhere.” “Anywhere,” Xavier said. They got into Carol’s car and headed up I-75. Two hours later they arrived at Carol’s parents home in Blue Ridge, Ga. Carol’s parents were overjoyed. “You came home,” her mother cried tears of joy. “Welcome home, my daughter. We’ve missed you,” her father said. Carol introduced Xavier to her parents. “You too came just in time. Dinner is almost ready.” After dinner Carol opened a couple gifts from her parents and she exchanged gifts with Xavier as well. They all listened to Christmas songs, danced and caught up. Carol’s parents even showed Xavier their photo album with all Carol’s childhood photos. Being home was bittersweet for Carol, but mostly sweet. Her dad turned off the stereo and brought out the Karaoke machine. He asked Carol to perform her Rudolph routine from third grade. He and Carol’s mom cheered her on. She was a little hesitant at first, but she did it. Of course, she added more sass, than she had in third grade, and she took a few opportunities to throw some flirtatious moves Xavier’s way. Everyone gave her a round of applause when she finished. “Wow, I had no idea you could sing like that,” Xavier said. “What can’t you do?” he asked her. “I can’t imagine my life without you,” she said. “I’m so incredibly blessed that God sent you my way, she said as she cuddled into Xavier’s arms. Carol’s parents sing a few songs on the Karaoke, as Carol and Xavier watched and cheered them on. “I love you,” Xavier said. Carol grabbed his hand and kissed it, “I love you more,” she said. “Okay, enough Karaoke,” Carol dad said. He turned back on the stereo system and just then, Donny Hathaway, “This Christmas” came on. “That’s my jam,” Carol’s mom said. “Oh, turn that up please,” Xavier said. He and Carol got up and started dancing again. Carol’s dad turned up the radio and he and Carol’s mom danced. They all began to sing. “Fireside blazing bright

We’re CAROL LING” (they all said, pointing to Carol, and she smiled and laughed) “Through the night

And this Christmas will be

A very special Christmas for me.”

The End. Merry Christmas! 🎁🎄🙌🏾❄️