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An Aurora Skies Christmas Romance Tale

emorrillemorrill Posts: 4,614 Member
I was in the mood to write out a short Christmas story for the season. :blush:
(Because I LOVE Christmas! <3 )

I hope you'll enjoy it as I try to get it all written and posted before Christmas arrives. :)



Introduction

It was the year 2013 in Aurora Skies, Simsland during the coldest holiday season the town had ever experienced.

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With inversion setting in a few days at a time.

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The many glistening waterfalls that showered into the great lake from the hills above were frozen solid, resting upon the frozen lake itself.

However this bitter cold year wasn't enough to dispel the warmth that came from the spirit of the season. That brightly burning spirit found its way into each and every resident's heart from the ever kind, caring, and influential personality of one named Miriam Day.

One resident's heart in particular was forever changed that Christmas for the better.

No one ever expected such a timeless Christmas tale to actually happen in real life. In the 21st century even! But it did...and the heartwarming story continues to be told each and every Christmas in Aurora Skies to this very day.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Chapter 1

Miriam Day was one of the happiest women around, coming from the most humble of families, and certainly the most festive person around when it came to Christmas the town residents seem to notice. In fact ever since her arrival to Aurora Skies almost 2 years ago, she teamed up with city council to make her first Christmas in the area a joyous one. (Because Christmas was her favorite holiday of them all!) That meant encouraging the city to lavishly decorate public buildings and the parks, with strings of multi-colored lights and tinsel garland dressing the trees. Soon the local businesses followed suit, turning their buildings into glowing shops you'd be sure to find in Christmas Town itself. The spirit carried on to a few residents as well who started hanging up holiday house lights and wreaths in the windows for the first time in years.

No one really knows what caused the spirit of Christmas to dwindle in Aurora Skies over the years, but it seemed the lovely Miriam Day was the one destined to bring it back. Many were grateful for her spirit, others didn't seem to care. Either way, Miriam continued to strive to make a difference in this town that had become her new home.

Desiring to start a new chapter in her life after graduating from college, Miriam moved from Appaloosa Plains to the mysterious small town of Aurora Skies. Something about the place drew her to it and she hadn't quite figured out why. She figured she would've found out by now.

At the time she'd met up with three roommates looking for another roommate to help pay the rent and they all instantly fell in love with Miriam. One of the male roommates in particular, Ciro Perry, was smitten with her at first sight, but in the past almost 2 years he was always too nervous to pursue a relationship, fearing Miriam only viewed him as a friend. Which...was partly true. The two were comfortable in their friendship and didn't want anything to threaten it, especially if they pursued a courtship at the wrong time. This mutual feeling hadn't been talked about one to the other yet. As for their other roommate friends, Angelica Diamond and Pedro Herrerra, Miriam and Ciro couldn't be sure if they had stronger feelings for each other too or not. All that mattered is that every one of them were good friends, who clicked instantly, and rarely did they ever fight or disagree on much; which is a lot to say about four people all coming from different backgrounds living under the same roof! They were just having the time of their lives being single, 20 year olds, each trying to figure out their own individual destinies.

****

The day after Thanksgiving was the day Miriam pulled out all her Christmas boxes, overflowing with decorations, down from the attic. One box included a few items Ciro, Angelica, and Pedro collected over the years and she was sure to bring that one down as well.

"Oh boy," Pedro sighed, addressing Angelica, "and so the Christmas season officially begins in our house."
Angelica laughed. "And next thing we know the whole TOWN will be just as decorated as our place!"

As much as her roommates liked to tease Miriam about her obsession with decorating for the Holidays, Miriam knew they loved and appreciated her decorations. It brought a special love and warmth to the house that every person needs this time of year.

It only took 2 hours for her to get two decorated Christmas trees put up, one in the dining room and of course the main one in the living room, and all the other decorations. Including stringing a few lights around the outside pine trees.

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"That's a new record!" Miriam whispered joyfully to herself. When all was said and done she blew a kiss toward the tree. "It is finished. Oh Christmas tree, you are indeed beautiful!"

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And within seconds she was on the phone with one of the city council members making plans for the decorating of the Festival Grounds.

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****

That evening, the house was out of some essential food items so Miriam offered to run to the grocery store to pick them up. Normally she would've gotten a ride there from Ciro, the only one who owned a car, but since he was working she called for a taxi. She rushed out so quickly when the taxi arrived that she forgot about grabbing her coat. She'd been known to forget small things like that.

Once she finished shopping, the sun had gone down a few minutes prior so the temperature outside dropped significantly. As she waited outside for the taxi, which was supposed to have arrived already, shivering, she said to herself, "Man, I really should've brought my coat."

"Ya think!?" a gruff voice grumbled from behind her. "How stupid do you have to be to forget your coat in this weather? Especially when wearing a shirt like that!"
Miriam rolled her eyes. That voice could only have come from one person.

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"Shut up!" another woman from behind her curtly responded to the man. But the man ignored her, continuing to grumble as he went on his way. "Don't let what that je'rk said bother you Miriam. It isn't always possible to 'dodge the Hodge.'"

Miriam smiled back at the woman appreciatively just as the taxi arrived.

Once inside she let out a giant sigh and thought about that gruff man whom everyone in town knew very well and dubbed during this time of year, "Scrooge McHodge."

No one knew his first name, and no one cared to, but it seemed obvious to Miriam that his last name was Hodge based on the names the locals had given him. He resided in the old abandoned warehouse in the woods near the lake, alone, after single-handedly evicting the town criminals from their hideout. She heard he'd been living there for at least a decade, living off the land and by the sweat of his brow, and then being a "scrooge" to every person he came in contact with whenever he had to go to the town for something.

It seemed so cliché to have an actual Mr. Scrooge in town, but this guy was the epitome of the fictional character if there ever was one. He certainly earned the Scrooge name over the years and was clearly proud of it. With so many rumors flying around about him it was hard to tell which ones were true and most likely no one would ever find out the real truth. A definite truth was that he hated Christmas and everything about it! He never hesitated to make that known to the public this time of year and Miriam witnessed it a few times last year.

On a couple of occasions some carolers from the local church would sing outside a few businesses and at the Festival Grounds. Once "Scrooge McHodge" appeared on the scene he'd start yelling at them to "Shut up" and then proceed to say terrible things about the songs. Another time he was caught ripping off some of the lights and garland from the trees in the park, to which Miriam gladly volunteered to put back up. One morning he got out his megaphone, stood in front of City Hall on a wooden box, and began protesting against Christmas and everything about it. It became quite obvious that he was dead drunk and was soon removed from the premises. He was just an all around grumpy guy who obviously hated the world and everyone in it. It's like he was on a mission to make everyone's life just as miserable as his own.

It just didn't any make sense...especially to someone as sweet and caring about others as Miriam. Truly, no one is born that heartless!

What could possibly have gone wrong in that man's life to make him hate everyone and everything? Especially...Christmas! she thought. There had to be a reason.

She couldn't figure out why it was suddenly eating at her, but...she was determined to find out.

****

The last day of November brought with it a great snowfall, which blanketed the town in a bright and glittering white powder.

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A winter wonderland it had quickly become.

Inside, Miriam and her roommates stayed cozy and warm, conversing on the sofas that sat not too far from the Christmas tree. It was so toasty inside, and so cold outside, that the windows fogged up a bit.

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For the most part Miriam sat quietly, lost in her thoughts and nibbling at her index fingernail, while the others carried on in pleasant conversation about past vacations they went on with their families.

When there was an open opportunity to speak, Miriam finally did.

"So what's the deal with 'Scrooge McHodge?'" she frankly asked them.

Her three friends instantly met her gaze with bugged out eyes.

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"Whaaaat about him?" Pedro bravely asked.
"Do any of you have any thoughts as to why he's such a grouch?" she asked.
The three friends shot questioning glances at each other, before Angelica replied. "Honestly, I've never entertained any thoughts about that man because he's an awful human being and I don't need that kind of negativity in my life!"
The two boys nodded their heads in strong agreement.
"I get that," Miriam said, "but...why does he live alone in the abandoned warehouse again? I mean, how did he end up there?"

"I heard," Ciro chimed in, "that his wife left him, took the kids, and everything else in the divorce so that's why he was left poor and destitute to where the only shelter for him was the warehouse."
Miriam raised an eyebrow. That certainly seemed like a realistic happening and reason for his behavior. Definitely one that would drive a man to hate people and not trust them anymore.
"No," Pedro countered, "I heard that his family died in a house fire while he was out of town...and it happened just a few days before Christmas! That's why he hates Christmas!"
Miriam nodded at that possibility too.

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"No way!" Angelica countered. "Who spread that rumor because I've never heard it and I know ALL of the town gossip!" She grinned with pride.
Miriam and Ciro just shook their heads with a chuckle.
"I have heard Ciro's story," she went on, "but...I think the real thing that happened is he caught his wife cheating on him so he left her."
"Who in town is his ex-wife then?" Ciro asked, resting his arm on the back of the sofa.
"It didn't happen here you punk. He's not originally from around here. He arrived here after leaving her and decided to settle in the warehouse because he had no money to stay elsewhere."
"Yeah right," Pedro muttered under his breath.

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"Ok!" Miriam stopped them abruptly. "So...no one in this town has gone out of their way to get to know this guy and find out what really happened?"
"H*** no Miriam!" Angelica cried. "You've seen how he treats everyone! He clearly doesn't want any friends. And everyone knows he owns a few shotguns and wouldn't hesitate using them if someone came onto his 'precious' property!" She said with a look of disgust.
"Yeah I think he said as much once," Pedro added.

"You know," Miriam paused. "It sounds to me like this man's story has made its way so many times through the grapevine that nothing about him can be deemed as fact anymore." Her friends sat in silence, not knowing what to say as that truth sank in. "And it also seems to me," she went on, "that the people in this town have been going about in the wrong way dealing with this grouchy man who continually disturbs the peace." Now she had her friend's undivided attention, curious as to what she was getting at.

"It's Christmastime," she said, "if anyone needs some light and positivity in their life, some Christmas cheer in their life, it's him! No matter how much he shuns it. Heck, I think he just needs someone to actually care about him. It's the only way to cure his attitude and turn him into a decent human being again."
"Like the whole 'kill 'em with kindness' thing?" Pedro asked.
"Kind of, but it goes deeper than that."
Ciro looked away, having a sneaking suspicion of what his crush had in mind to do.
"So...what are you saying Miriam?" Angelica asked with reservation.

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Miriam smiled brightly.

"I'm going to show him what's been missing in his life and will use the Christmas season to do it!"

* * * * * * * * * * * *


:blush:

So, what do y'all think so far? :grin:

I know it sounds like one of those typical Christmas stories, but trust me, it turns into so much more. <3

Comments

  • emorrillemorrill Posts: 4,614 Member
    Chapter 2

    The next day was December 1st. The beginning day of Miriam's plan.

    Ciro anxiously paced around the room as he waited for Miriam to finished getting dressed upstairs. This is insane, he thought to himself. I can't let her do this. But she's always so determined when she sets her mind on something. How can I persuade her that this is a CRAZY idea and is a lost cause?

    His head jolted up toward her direction when he heard light footsteps coming down the stairs. He blushed a little as she came towards him with that ever glowing smile of hers and wearing the attire that she was. She was dressed in a rather flattering Santa dress, wearing high green and white striped stockings. The black boots even added a nice, sexy touch. Why is she dressing like this again to see Scrooge McHodge?

    It's as if Miriam read his mind. "I know, I know what you're thinking," she said. "It's a bit much, but I've gotta wear something festive and...a little appealing so that it gets his attention and he's willing to chat with me a bit you know?" She winked.

    "I understand," Ciro expressed, wanting desperately to pull her in close so he could rub his hands up and down those perfectly formed curves. "But," he stopped himself, "I'm really worried about you doing this Miriam. This guy is dangerous and if anything should happen to you--"

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    Miriam placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. "This is why I asked you to come with me," she assured. "And not just because I need your car," she chuckled. But when Ciro didn't smile back, she continued more seriously. "I know Hodge has the potential to be dangerous, I'm not stupid, but...something within me keeps nagging at me to do this. I feel like I need to do this. I want to do this. I feel so bad for him."
    "Your caring heart is admirable Miriam," Ciro said, "but--"
    "Besides, how can anyone get angry at someone for giving them a gift?" she asked, pulling out the small gift from her dress pocket to show.
    "Someone like him!" Ciro stressed.

    Once again Miriam ran a comforting hand down his shoulder. "Don't worry Ciro, it's going to be ok. I can feel it. The man needs this and you know it."

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    She continued. "And I'll be so charming he won't even be able to resist me."

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    Upon hearing that, Ciro couldn't help but agree and smile as he found his eyes beginning to wander below her face onto something else.

    "No doubt you will," he said, admiringly, then added sternly, "but if he so much as tries to hit you or worse, pulls out a gun on you, then you run and yell out for me and I'll be there in a flash!"

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    Miriam smiled with a blush. "I love how sweet and protective you are Ciro."
    "I mean it Miriam."
    "I know, come here," she said, enveloping him in her arms. "Thank you. And thank you for helping me with this."

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    Ciro still felt uneasy sending her off to do this, even if he wouldn't be too far behind her.

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    Earlier he strongly suggested going to the door with her, but Miriam felt that might be a little too intimidating for Mr. Hodge, so she figured it best that Ciro hide a few feet behind the trees with his car.

    As they released each other from the hug, Ciro continued to hold Miriam for a bit. His heart was nearly pounding out of his chest and he couldn't help but say it. "You know I love you right?" he said while gazing into her eyes. "You're my best friend Miriam and I'd never want to lose you."

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    Miriam didn't look as surprised as he'd hoped from his declaration, but she did blush. "Aww, of course I do," she sweetly replied. "And I love you too. But really Ciro don't worry. Everything will be fine. Let's just go and do this!" She grinned, shaking excitedly.
    Ciro nodded, and with that Miriam bolt out the door for the truck.

    "You really should've kissed her," Angelica said from the desk, while scrolling through her Facebook page. "It was the perfect moment."

    Ciro glanced over at her while expressing a deeply disappointed sigh.

    ****

    It was about a 15 minute drive to Mr. Hodge's old abandoned warehouse of a home; the two friends probably would've arrived quicker if the roads hadn't been so slushy.

    Once Ciro parked the truck beside the road, he and Miriam just sat and stared at the ramshackled old place in silence for a few seconds. He couldn't tell just how nervous Miriam was and how quickly she was debating with herself whether she really wanted to do this.

    "We can always turn back," Ciro suggested.
    "I know," Miriam nodded, releasing a deep breath. "But I know that if I do that I will forever ask myself, 'What if?'"
    Ciro looked down, not knowing what to say.
    "No. I'll do it. I'm just giving him a simple gift. Easy enough right?"
    "I hope so."
    "You've got my back?"
    "Of course! I won't take my eyes off you!"
    "Good."

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    Taking in another deep breath, Miriam released it as she said, "Okay. Let's do this!" and stepped out of the truck.

    Deciding not to waste anymore time debating, she bolted towards the warehouse. Maybe saying a tiny little prayer as she did.

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    Once she stood before the door, preparing to knock, she couldn't help noticing just how much this place reminded her of a creepy warehouse straight from a Simis King novel. She tried to control her shivers of fear, but at least they could be masked by the fact that it's cold outside.

    Bravely she knocked on the slivering wood door.

    It felt like the longest 30 seconds of her life, paired with light rustling sounds coming from within.

    "Scrooge McHodge" flung the door open without any reservation and once he set eyes upon this rare guest, Miriam could see them widen a bit.

    "What do you want?" he gruffed at her.
    "Umm, Hi!" Miriam greeted cheerfully, throwing out the biggest grin she could muster. "My name is Miriam Day and you are...?"
    Mr. Hodge just stared at her with a glare.

    "Anyway," she went on, clasping her hands together behind her back to hide both shivers. "I'm here because it's officially the first day of the Holiday Season and," she shuddered as Mr. Hodge stepped out of his home to stand before her while shutting the door. "And...I was thinking of you and wanted to give you a gift." She reached for her dress pocket.

    Suddenly, Mr. Hodge chuckled and said in a somewhat mocking tone, while pointing a finger, "Ha ha that's a good one girlie!"

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    "You must be new in town right?" he asked.
    "Uhh...no. I've lived here for almost two years."
    That seemed to surprise Mr. Hodge a tad, but he shrugged it off and went on to say, "Then you very well know that I don't do Christmas so move along young lady..." and he turned for the door.
    "But Mr. Hodge," she beckoned. "You're forgetting my gift to you."
    "I don't do gifts either."
    "Oh come on...I know you'll really like it," she said in a babying tone of voice.

    "I said I don't want your gift!" Mr. Hodge snapped. "Now leave!"

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    "Ok," Miriam nonchalantly said while scratching her head. "But you see I feel like you're the kind of person who needs a little kindness in their life so...you may not like me stopping by, but I'm going to keep coming by, every single day until Christmas with a special gift for you."
    "What!?"
    "To show you that I care Mr. Hodge. Just think of me as your own personal Advent Calendar!" She smiled.

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    "I don't want your Christmas related gifts, or your care, and I don't want you stopping by here every day. Just leave me alone!"
    "Ok then," Miriam concluded, bending down towards the ground with the gift, "I'm just going to leave this right here and see you in the morning tomorrow."
    "No!" he cried in anger. "Don't you get it missy? I want you off my property and never come back! And if you do I'll call the police."

    There was a quick pause as the two stared each other down.

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    "Then call them," Miriam said with a mischievous grin and ran off towards the truck. "Have a lovely December 1st Mr. Hodge," she called back. "See you tomorrow."

    "Urrrgghh!" Mr. Hodge grumbled loudly, hoping she would hear, as he kicked her small present clear across the yard.

    As he watched the gift fall into a deep drift of snow, he suddenly realized that once the snow melted he would have to see it again and...he didn't want that. He rolled his eyes as he headed over to fetch it. Better to just throw it away so it's gone for good, he thought.

    Once he entered his warehouse home and stood before the trash bin, he stopped and studied the present a bit; pressing it every which way, trying to make a guess as to what it could be. Maybe I'll take a quick peek at what it is before I throw it away. His curiosity got the better of him. As he ripped off the paper, falling into the bin as he did, he discovered a nice cigar now resting between his fingers.

    With pursed lips he stared at the gift and tried to remember the last time he had a good smoke with a cigar. He really couldn't recall.

    With a shrug he thought, Guess I could use a smoke, but ONLY to help me remember the good old days...

    ****


    Gotta stop the chapter here as I need to go back in game and get a few more pictures for the next part. :blush:

    Hope you enjoyed! :smiley:
  • lanlynlanlyn Posts: 4,120 Member
    @emorrill How fun that you've written a Christmas story! ...2013? Hmm, I wonder why you chose that year to begin your story? So, it was a special year of magic that's still being talked about. ...Pretty Aurora Skies snow scenery. ...Miriam Day was a woman on a Good Will Christmas mission! ...I love how you decorated the house. Very festive. ...Scrooge McHodge! It looks like Miriam has found her Grinch. ...So no one really knows the truth about his past.

    ...Ciro could be right. What if McHodge is a serial killer who eats people! :o Nah, this is a Christmas story, not a Supernatural Halloween show. ;) ...I'm glad Ciro is going with her though. And it's good that he's willing to support her. Miriam is a brave lady, but I also think she's willing to listen to her heart too. ...Well, that first encounter didn't go perfectly, but Mr Hodge did open that present! :)

    ...Great dialog, as usual. I like the relationship between Ciro and Miriam. And McHodge is definitely an interesting character with his mysterious past. I want to learn more!
  • emorrillemorrill Posts: 4,614 Member
    A proper reply to your sweet comments later @lanlyn :kissing_heart:
    (It's SUPER late at night while I'm posting this! :flushed: )



    An Aurora Skies Christmas Romance Tale

    Chapter 2 continued...

    The next morning there was a knock at Mr. Hodge's door. He was afraid the odd woman would return and he wasn't happy about it. At all!

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    However, he decided to keep quiet and pray - which he never did anymore - that she'd think him not home and leave. Maybe I should do this every time she comes over and maybe she'll get the hint, he thought gleefully. It had to work.

    "Happy December 2nd Mr. Hodge!" the ever cheerful Miriam greeted from the other side of the door. When there was still no answer she said, "I don't know if you're in there or not, but," she paused, "I'm sorry to have missed you." Then she sighed. "I'll leave this right here for you again. Merry Christmas!" And with that she ran back to Ciro's truck, her footsteps crunching in the snow to Mr. Hodge's ears.

    He bolted for the door, swung it open, fully intending to yell something out at her, but she was gone.

    Sighing in frustration he glanced down at the present, picked it up, wanting to just chuck it into the fire, but his curiosity kept getting the better of him.

    ****

    The third day Miriam returned again. And the fourth. And the fifth. Still bringing presents while he continued to ignore the door.

    On the sixth day, he stepped outside for a moment to take the trash out...

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    ...when he turned to find Miriam magically present by his door, startling him. "Hey!" he sharply addressed while throwing his coat to the ground and stomping towards her, fully intending to chew her out. No longer would he stand for this anymore!

    "Hello there Mr. Hodge!" she greeted with that ever annoying bright smile of hers. "Happy December --"
    "Save it missy!" he ordered. "I don't want you coming around here anymore and I especially don't want your presents!"
    "But--"

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    "I warned you that if you ever came back onto my property I would call the police so here it goes." He whipped out his prepaid phone and started dialing.
    "Please Mr. Hodge," Miriam begged, "I don't mean to be a bother, or trespass--"
    "Well you are!"
    "I'm sorry I...I just want you to be happy..."
    "I'M JUST FINE THE WAY I AM!" He shouted, throwing the phone up to his ear.
    "Alright," Miriam surrendered, holding her hands up which dropped her gift onto the snow. "I'll go." And then she ran a little more quickly than usual back to Ciro's truck.
    "HEY!" he cursed under his breath. "You get back here!"

    "911, what's your emergency?"

    Mr. Hodge lowered his phone continuing to curse, as he sharply pressed the End Call button.

    ****

    Five minutes later, the police arrived on the scene. One of them was quite familiar with Mr. Hodge, having dealt with his shenanigans before. Once it was determined there was no emergency, the veteran officer dismissed his rookie to return to the vehicle while he stayed behind to chat with "Mr. Scrooge."

    The two shot a few glances at each other for a moment, pretty much knowing how this was going to end, while the officer adjusted his duty belt and asked, "What is the disturbance this time Mr. Hodge?"
    "A woman," he promptly replied. "A crazy woman named Mary-something who keeps coming onto my property and driving me crazy!"
    "How exactly is she driving you crazy?"
    "She's been coming by here every day since the first of the month, saying she's my 'human advent calendar' or something, and bringing me gifts that I don't WANT!"

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    The officer peered at him for a moment with a suppressed laugh while resting one hand on his hip. "So you're saying," he reiterated with his hands, "that a woman is coming over to your house giving you...gifts? What kind of gifts?"

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    "Christmas gifts, what else!? And she's always dressed like an elf when she comes. She's a crazy woman Officer I'm telling ya!"

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    The officer's eyes brightened with realization setting in. "Ohh, are you talking about Miriam Day?"
    He shrugged. "I guess so."
    "Oh pfft," he dismissed with a wave of his hand, "she's harmless Hodge! A real sweet lady that one. She's on the city council and an especially chipper and festive person this time of year. She's just trying to spread a little Christmas cheer, although I can't imagine why she'd head over here into your neck of the woods," he muttered that last statement.
    "Exactly! She's annoying and I want her off my property, but she won't leave! She insists on bringing me gifts every day until Christmas!" He shook his head in frustration. "You gotta get rid of her Officer!"

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    "Now hold on there Hodge," the officer calmed. "Has she done you any real harm?"
    "No, but she's trespassing and I want you to do something about it!"
    "I get that's she's somewhat trespassing and I'll talk to her, but you know," he paused, curling his lip a bit, "I would think that you'd find it quite flattering that someone in this town actually cares about you."

    At that Mr. Hodge met the Officer's gaze with a heavy-hearted look in his eyes.

    Instantly the officer's face fell with remorse. He wasn't expecting that reaction. "Uh... that didn't come out right."
    Mr. Hodge lowered his eyes to hide his agreement.
    "What I mean to say is Hodge...be grateful for this angel that's miraculously appeared in your life. You may not like it, but...just humor the girl alright? Swallow your pride and allow her the opportunity to serve. To spread her overflowing Christmas cheer."
    Mr. Hodge just rolled his eyes and let out a light huff.
    The officer didn't really have much else to say. "So...I guess we're done here?"
    There was a slight, surrendering nod.

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    "Ok then," the officer said, heading for the door. "Oh and by the way Hodge," he turned, "It's a $500 fine to call 911 when there isn't a legit emergency going on. However," he paused, "I'm willing to let that slide for the sake of Miriam Day's Christmas spirit. That woman sure has blown my mind with this one," he shook his head with a chuckle. "Besides, the last thing you have is $500 to fork over am I right Hodge?"

    Mr. Hodge grit his teeth as he closed his eyes and shook his head in annoyed defeat. Eventually he managed to get out, "Good day officer."

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    ****

    The next day, the seventh, Miriam didn't arrive in the morning.

    Mr. Hodge found himself continually glancing out his foggy windows, rubbing at them each time to see better, fully expecting to find her trudging through the snow toward his front door in that skimpy outfit of hers. He couldn't figure out why he kept looking especially since...this is exactly what he wanted. For her to disappear.

    He felt a tiny hint of disappointment, perhaps more than a tiny hint, poke at his shriveled heart, but he shrugged it off and simply said, "Good riddance." He then headed over to the couch to relax and read the morning paper, relishing in the pleasurable heat from the fire.

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    Later that afternoon as he prepared to head out and split some firewood, a familiar knock rang through the air.

    Freezing in his tracks, Mr. Hodge released a giant breath while gazing up at the ceiling. He was instantly reminded of the Officer's words.

    Opening up the door, still refusing to smile, Miriam stepped back a little to allow him out.

    "Happy December 7th Mr. Hodge," she greeted, somewhat less cheerfully than before.
    There was a sigh. "There's just no avoiding you is there?" he frankly asked.

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    A smile drew across her lips. "Nope. Not this Christmas season Mr. Hodge."
    He tried not to roll his eyes at her.
    "I promised you a gift every day until Christmas and...I intend to keep that promise. Of course," she paused, digging the tip of her shoe into the snow, "if you'll allow me the opportunity to keep my promise?"

    Gosh this woman certainly has a way with words...and with people, he couldn't help thinking. She was really something. And he still couldn't figure out why of ALL people she'd give a darn about him, but...

    "I guess so," he replied with a deep sigh.
    Miriam's eyes lit up like a diamond in the sun. "Oh thank you Mr. Hodge! You won't regret--"

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    "Alright, alright I get it, just," he deeply sighed again, "leave me with your gift and be on your way."
    Eyes still glistening, Miriam handed over a box of assorted chocolates, nicely wrapped with a red ribbon. "Hope you can eat these..."
    "Of course I can!" he expressed while harshly grabbing the box. "Why wouldn't I!?"
    Miriam froze. "Oh uhh...I dunno," she replied awkwardly. "I guess because some people are diabetic or...they're trying to watch their weight..."
    His eyes pierced hers sharply at that comment.
    "NOT saying that you're trying to lose weight! I mean...you look great," she complimented, quickly studying his physique. "I just--"
    "You can go now."
    "Okay!" She spun on her heel and did just that.


    :mrgreen:

    More to come soon!
  • emorrillemorrill Posts: 4,614 Member
    So yeah, hey there @lanlyn :smiley: It was so sweet to see you pop in here and make some lovely comments on my new short story. :blush: It's been very fun to write so far! :grin:

    I chose the year 2013 since that was the year Aurora Skies was released to download. At least that's what I read online. :p
    Yeah I was already told by Charlottesmom ;) that it sounded a little like Jim Carrey's Grinch story from the start, but it becomes so much better than that movie! :lol: (Please don't hate me for not liking it, JC is just a little too hyper and annoying in that movie for my taste. :confused: )

    Hee hee! :lol: I love this comment:
    What if McHodge is a serial killer who eats people! :o Nah, this is a Christmas story, not a Supernatural Halloween show. ;)
    I can't wait for you to learn more in the story. :blush:
    Enjoy the newest chapter and thanks for the comments! :kissing_heart:
  • lanlynlanlyn Posts: 4,120 Member
    edited December 9
    @emorrill His "prepaid" phone. Nice touch, that! I take it he didn't use it very often. Or is it like a burner phone that can't be traced? ...Interesting conversation with the police officer. So Mr Hodge has a tender spot after all. ...And he's beginning to soften towards Miriam too--getting used to having her come around. ...Great conversation between the two. ...LOL at Hodge noticing Miriam's "skimpy" outfit and Miriam noticing Hodge's physique. ...Another fun update!

    ...That's a neat detail about 2013 and when Aurora Skies came out. ...Jim Carrey is like a lot of comedians for me. Sometimes I enjoy their performances; sometimes not at all! I don't like slapstick or too much dopey behavior. I wasn't a big fan of Lucille Ball or Jerry Lewis for the same reasons.
  • emorrillemorrill Posts: 4,614 Member
    edited December 11
    @lanlyn Thanks for the sweet comments again. <3
    It's funny you should mention the Prepaid Phone because that was something that instantly hit me when I was typing that I needed to make sure was accurate. He's poor...so having a cell phone "Plan" wouldn't be realistic. So Prepaid it was. :p And...I would imagine he has the kind of prepaid where it can't be traced. ;)
    But yeah, I love how you notice the little details I've thrown in. :smirk: It must be something we notice as fellow writers. :kissing_heart:

    I don't like slapstick humor either... (The Three Stooges...oh gosh kill me! :unamused: )
    The only thing Jim Carrey I like is "Dumb and Dumber." :lol: And Bruce Almighty, but everything else...just...no. :grimace:

    Here's the next chapter for you. :blush: (And any others who may be reading. ;) )


    Chapter 3

    December 8th

    Miriam (and Ciro) had just returned from visiting with Mr. Hodge and she was so filled with joy that she couldn't keep herself still. She squealed, her hands clasped and raised to her breast, as Ciro began closing the door behind them.

    "Oh Ciro!" she happily cried. "Did you see him actually accept my gift this time around? I mean, he totally almost smiled!"
    Ciro cracked one himself, trying to share her same enthusiasm. "No...it's kinda hard to see from my distance, but yeah...," he faced her, "that's wonderful Miriam. You're magic is working."
    She blushed. "Well, I was just following my heart. I mean gosh," she breathed, placing her hand upon her chest. "My heart feels so full. I don't think I've ever felt this happy in a LONG time Ciro! It's just...such a great feeling to know I'm helping someone like this." She gazed into his eyes. "Helping someone find the light in their life again you know?"
    "Yeah..."
    "I say we should have some of our friends over tonight! Call it a little celebration!" she declared. "What do you think?"

    Ciro shrugged, not feeling like there was a whole lot to celebrate, but, "Yeah. That sounds like a good idea." I guess...

    ****

    Miriam, her roommates, and a few of their friends all got together at 5pm, eating pizza for dinner in front of the cozy fire while listening to various Christmas tunes in the background.

    After dinner, Miriam and Ciro had a moment while chatting together where they both decided within themselves that tonight...they were going to share their true feelings for each other.

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    Ciro couldn't wait! He'd anticipated this moment for years and finally mustered up the strength to do it. He didn't want to miss out on a perfect moment either, like he did the other day.

    One could only imagine his enthusiasm when a few of their friends started casually sharing kisses under the mistletoe and Miriam invited him to come join her underneath.
    He tried to hide his burning, blushing cheeks as he approached her.

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    This wasn't exactly how he planned their first kiss to be, but who was he to complain?

    "I feel a little silly doing this," he expressed to Miriam. He always thought the kissing under the mistletoe thing was super silly and cliché.
    She chuckled. "Oh it's cute! Now c'mon...humor me for a bit." She winked.
    Alright. "With pleasure."

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    Miriam took his arm, and he hers, each gently pulling the other in for a tender, very first kiss together.

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    They both grinned brightly at each other after the kiss ended, while resting their forehead's against the other's giggling.

    Ciro had every intention of leaning in and kissing her again, but Miriam stepped back a little and said, "Sorry. I hope you'll excuse me Ciro, I...I need to step into the bathroom. I'll be right back." As he watched her go he hoped that meant she actually had to go and not that she was avoiding him.

    When Miriam exited the bathroom she was approached by a few of her friends who started asking her about her recent visits with "Scrooge McHodge." It turned into a long conversation and while waiting for her Ciro somehow got plum into playing a board game with Pedro, Angelica, and one of their close friends.

    As the evening came to a close, the friends chatting with Miriam told her goodbye, and to the others, as they headed out the door for home. Miriam joined the other four in their board game and once it ended, the last friend bid them goodbye and Pedro and Angelica informed they were tired and headed upstairs to bed.

    Finally it was just Miriam and Ciro alone in the room, with the Christmas tree as a sparkling backdrop, and as the clock was about to strike midnight.

    "This was a really fun evening," Ciro spoke.
    "Yeah," Miriam concurred. "It was."

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    "I take it you're ready for bed too?" he asked, hoping not.
    "Not exactly," she replied, as she got up from the couch to join Ciro on his. "Look Ciro I'm," she started, growing nervous, "I'm sorry I took off like that...after our kiss."
    Ciro nodded. "It's ok..."
    "And...about that kiss..."
    "Yes, let's talk about that kiss," he expressed anxiously.

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    Miriam inched in closer beside him. "It was wonderful," she breathed, gazing deeply into his eyes, with the deepest of sincerity written upon them.
    Ciro gazed lovingly back into them. "Was it?" he playfully asked, putting his arm around her. "Because...I think I need a reminder." And with that he pulled her in for another deep, yet tender, kiss.

    "Ciro..." Miriam whispered between breaths.
    "Miriam," he whispered in return, as he leaned her back a bit, pressing his lips harder upon hers and gently starting to pull down the sleeve of her shirt with his other hand.

    "Ciro," Miriam addressed louder this time, causing him to pull back as she slid her shirt sleeve back up. "We," she corrected, "there's something...I need to tell you."
    Ciro felt his heart sink for a bit as he sat up fully now. "What is it?" he gently asked.

    "Oh G**," she expressed, burying her face into her hands. "I don't know what's wrong Ciro. I don't understand it."
    "Don't understand what?" he hated to encourage.
    "You are this amazing guy!" she said, gazing back at him now. "Always so sweet and the most wonderful friend, and I've wanted us to be together. I've wanted it for a long time."
    "Me too."
    "But...when I made the decision to ask you for a kiss under the mistletoe, which please don't feel like I was using you for an experiment, I was just...hoping the kiss would help confirm my feelings for you. You know? Be the kiss to seal the deal."
    Ciro looked down at his hands now. "And...it didn't?"
    Miriam frowned. "No," she sadly replied. "Like I said...I just don't understand it."
    "So when we kissed just now," Ciro said, glancing back at her, "did you feel the spark? The confirmation? Because I sure did."
    "I know," Miriam whispered, shaking her head and trying to hold back tears. "But I didn't. I am SO sorry Ciro!" She hated witnessing the disappointed look upon his face.

    "I guess," she continued, "you're just too much of a good friend to me that...it just doesn't feel right to take it to the next level because if our relationship were to not work out I'd feel like I'd lose your friendship forever and honestly Ciro," she held her hand to her aching heart, "I would die if that ever happened!"
    "What makes you think our relationship would not work out?"
    "Ciro...it's taken us two years to finally start pursuing the idea," she paused. "Don't you think if we were really meant to be together, we would've known long before now? And acted upon it?"
    Ciro released a big sigh. "I guess it's my fault then. If I hadn't been so nervous to ask you out earlier than maybe we'd be..." he stopped, unable to finish.
    "Aww, come here," Miriam beckoned, putting her arm around him and pulling him in for a snuggle. "Don't blame yourself. I was nervous to ask you out too. I guess," she sighed, "we were just always meant to be really good friends instead of being in a relationship."
    "I guess so," he said, still gazing into her beautiful eyes with a longing expression. "But it sure felt nice to explore the next step with you...even just for a little bit."
    "Yeah," she smiled. "It did...

    32332379868_9d4221c88c_c.jpg

    ...but when you started pulling down my sleeve I was like, 'Oh my gosh Ciro is trying to make love to me,'" she chuckled, "and...it made me feel a little uncomfortable."
    Ciro looked down with a cracked smile.
    "I don't mean that offensively!" Miriam assured. "It's just...it's like what we talked about, you're my best friend and it felt a little weird to go there..."
    "I understand," he said. "And honestly, as much as I wanted to, and boy did I really want to!" They both chuckled. "I was feeling nervous as heck," he continued, "like I wouldn't measure up to your expectations or something."

    Miriam gazed upon him with a look of love again. "I'm sure you would've measured up," she said to comfort, "it just...isn't meant to be."
    "Yeeeah," he really hated to say.
    "So," she deeply sighed, "are we ok? You'll still always be my best friend forever?"
    Figuring they'd have to be and because he respected her feelings, Ciro replied sincerely, "Yeah. We're ok. And of course I'll be your best friend forever."

    Miriam smiled in relief as they then cuddled in silence for a bit.

    "So...should we head up to bed now?" Ciro asked, breaking it.
    "No," she whispered. "Let's just stay like this...for a few more minutes."
    "Okay," he agreed.

    32332379698_3a25a6c413_c.jpg

    "You know I love you too right?" Miriam almost forgot to tell him.
    "Yes. I do."

    ****

    December 12th

    The past four days went by pleasurably for Miriam when visiting Mr. Hodge, although a twinge of heartbreak was still shared between her and Ciro. Nevertheless they carried on like the best friends they've always been and he continued to keep a watchful eye on her as she visited daily with the ever bitter man, who surprisingly...was turning more into a decent man throughout each day inching closer to Christmas.

    In fact the townsfolk began noticing less of "Scrooge McHodge's" negative feelings about Christmas whenever he made an appearance in town and that was a miracle in and of itself.

    One afternoon as he stepped into the grocery store just as a woman was going out, he took notice of her bug eyed look towards him; as if she were surprised to see him.
    "Yes! I'm still around!" he said with a little less gruff then he normally would.
    "I didn't say anything!" the woman muttered as she looked away and kept walking.

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    Miriam's daily conversations with Mr. Hodge grew longer, to her excitement, as he was really starting to open up to her a little. Honestly, for him, it was beginning to feel quite nice talking one and one with someone again.

    He talked about how life wasn't always easy living in a run down, abandoned warehouse. How he had to repair it from the ground up the best he cold, having very little money, but thankfully being blessed with the gift of handiness.

    32327235448_41b27fe233_c.jpg

    He talked about his intense poverty...how his job as the night shift graveyard grounds keeper was barely paying the utility bills...

    32327234728_2202e10c86_c.jpg

    Electricity became too much so he switched to only lighting his home with candles for about three years. Then when he found an easy to fix flat screen TV at the dump, he went back to having electricity again. He longed to watch TV again...anything his satellite antenna would pick up. It was a modern amenity he'd missed greatly and was definitely worth the cost - even if it meant hunting for food instead of buying groceries and selling the pelts.

    His story about finding and fixing up the TV reminded Miriam that it wasn't a rare sight to see him dumpster diving around town in the past...

    32327235308_9e089d0249_c.jpg

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    One thing Mr. Hodge mentioned that made Miriam chuckle was him calling laundry the most detestable chore out of them all...(and he had many!) especially when trying to run his clothes through the world's cra'pp'iest washing machine...

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    ...and then forgetting to bring the clothes in from hanging out to dry on the line before the rain or snow started falling.

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    Her heart especially went out to him as he talked about spending TEN winters in his run down warehouse home...

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    ...and how some years it was so bitter cold that the single fireplace wasn't enough to heat every area of the ground floor that he needed it to.

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    So often he had to spend the night sleeping on the cold, hard floor, instead of in his bed, in front of the fire to keep himself from freezing to death.

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    How no one ever noticed this man's poverty and reached out to him in all these years is beyond me, Miriam thought. She'd be the first to admit that SHE certainly could've reached out to him sooner and she also knew of plenty of other good and caring people in town who should have as well, but then again...Mr. Hodge didn't exactly allow anyone in to help.

    On the days leading up to today Miriam was very happy to learn all of these things about Mr. Hodge and his life, but it disappointed her that he still hadn't revealed how he ended up in the warehouse, alone, and why he hates Christmas so much. Perhaps it wouldn't matter anymore if his heart was really beginning to change, but...she couldn't help thinking how he wouldn't fully be able to change and heal if he didn't talk about it. She had a sneaking suspicion that he never talked to anyone about what caused the hatred...and that's why he was so full of pain, anger, and resentment. There is still time, she thought in conclusion. I'll casually ask him about it when the moment feels right. She could only hope that moment would present itself before Christmas.

    But for now things were beginning to look up, miraculously, and she didn't want to rush inquiring into his personal life for fear of pushing him away just as he's barely started to open up to someone since a decade's time.

    The ice was still thin and she had to continually tread lightly. However, she HAD to help Mr. Hodge have a happier, wonderful, and memorable Christmas this year. He needed that...more than anyone else in the world it seemed.


    *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*


    :blush:
    Post edited by emorrill on
  • lanlynlanlyn Posts: 4,120 Member
    edited December 10
    @emorrill I liked Carrey in The Truman Show and The Majestic. ...Well, I can't say I'm surprised about Ciro and Miriam not feeling a romantic connection after all. They'd been friends for years, but nothing romantic had ever happened between them. I know couples can be like that and then finally realize they love each other romantically, but Miriam and Ciro had even been living in the same house together. ...Loved the mistletoe scene and the conversation afterwards. Really nice dialog. ...Meanwhile, Miriam and Hodge are getting along better. Now THERE'S an interesting relationship. Some sort of "magical" connection between those two, I think. ;) ...Hodge has been living a hand-to-mouth existence for a long time. ...I wonder if his clothes froze hanging outdoors during those snow storms! ...Ten winters and no one checked on him. That can happen, though, when someone is a true recluse, refusing company. I guess it's a pride of sorts not to accept "charity." ...I think Miriam's plan to go slow and easy with Hodge is a good way to befriend him.
    Post edited by lanlyn on
  • emorrillemorrill Posts: 4,614 Member

    Chapter 4

    "Happy December 14th Mr. Hodge," Miriam greeted, like she always did, holding her gift out to him.

    This time the man sighed, a faint smile creeping across his lips. "Thank you," he said, taking the gift. It was the first time he said that.
    Miriam tried to control herself from bursting with excitement.

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    "Go ahead," she encouraged, "open it."
    Mr. Hodge froze his look at her. "Now?"
    "Yes!"
    "Umm...ok." This felt awkward.

    As he pulled the ribbon off and tore off the paper, Miriam took the trash from him and threw it away in the trash can. Looking inside the box and discovering a various array of contents, tilting the box this way and that, Mr. Hodge asked as she returned to him, "What is this stuff?"

    Recognizing he didn't feel like digging through it, Miriam took the box from him and pulled out a squished black hat and a long, fluffy scarf that rested on top of the other things. "See?" she said, holding out the box closer so he could see. There were a few pieces of coal and a carrot at the bottom. He looked up and said, "I don't get it."
    She chuckled. "We're going to build a snowman!"
    "Whaaat?"
    "Yeah! You need something to liven up your place out here."
    He wanted to contest, but he knew she'd have some convincing reason for doing it that would make him change his mind.

    "At least it's not Christmas lights and wreaths," she pointed out, practically reading his mind. She was good at that. "It's just building a snowman. Everyone does it. Even if they don't celebrate Christmas. It's true." She winked.
    Shaking his head with a sigh he gave in and said, "Fine." I can't argue with this woman anymore and besides, I can always destroy it when she's not around and say it was the wind...

    As Miriam squealed with glee she knelt down and began rapidly pulling a bunch of snow into a pile to form the base of the snowman. Mr. Hodge just stood and watched for a moment.

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    "This is silly," he said. "I haven't built a snowman since I was like...8."
    "Really!?"
    "It's a childish thing to do."
    "It is not!" she retorted. "I've seen many adults build snowmen in my day. And you know Mr. Hodge, sometimes you need to do things that seem a little childish at times to take your mind off all of your adult responsibilities and stresses. It does wonders for your mental health. Reliving simpler times you know?"
    He shrugged.
    "I think you do...now come on!"
    With a slight roll of his eyes, he finally joined in.

    Together they worked to form a perfectly round ball, patting down each side until they both reached for one side at the same time and their hands inadvertently rested upon each other's...

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    Glancing up into the other's eyes for a moment, feeling a sudden surge of unknown energy penetrating into their hearts, they both removed their hands in unison. "Sorry," they said.
    Miriam brushed her hair behind her ears, oddly trying to hide a blush when she found herself curiously asking the question, "Is that a wedding ring I felt on your finger?" It was his left hand that she touched and she was pretty sure it was on the ring finger.

    Mr. Hodge instantly froze, his arms gradually dropping to his side as he shot a glowering look at her. Miriam gulped for a moment as her heart suddenly began to pound. She immediately regretted asking such a question and feared she may have just ruined everything. Quickly, she had to save this.

    "I'm so sorry," she said. "That's really none of my business."

    Mr. Hodge didn't nod, or even say a word as he finally released his intense gaze upon her and turned to start forming another ball for the midsection. Miriam let out a breath of relief.

    For the next several minutes they worked in silence to finish up the body.

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    When they were done, Miriam took a long look at it and declared, "It's perfect! Now we just gotta dress it up."

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    She turned back to the present box. "Why don't you go fetch some sticks to be the arms and I'll get started on this stuff."
    "I'm not a married man who ran out on his wife if that's what you're thinking," Mr. Hodge blurted out.
    She froze, mid bend toward the box on the ground. "I...wasn't," she said, grabbing the coal and standing up.
    "Good."

    While placing the coal on the midsection to create the "buttons," Miriam grew thoughtful; trying to figure out a non-direct way to get him to open up. "It's funny," she started, "I didn't think you cared about what other people thought of you."
    At that, Mr. Hodge shot a nasty look at her again as he turned away to go find some sticks.
    Little did he know just how much she was smiling at him from behind.

    When he returned with the sticks, he sighed before saying, "I usually don't care what other's think about me ok!"
    "Ok," she accepted.
    "It's just," he began, shoving the sticks into the snowman as if they were daggers, "you start coming along and talking to me and," he paused, "perhaps I'm starting to care about what you think."
    Miriam smiled. Warmth filling up her heart. "Look Mr. Hodge," she said. "We all have a past...and some of it's too hard to talk about so, I get it. You don't have to explain anything to me if you don't want to."

    Mr. Hodge was rather impressed by that comment. "Well alright then," he simply said.
    "Yup!" she pretended to accept, even though she was crazy curious. "Now let's finish decorating this snowman because it's COLD out here!"

    After Mr. Hodge brought out a broom to give it a final touch, Miriam clapped happily as she looked upon the finished snowman. "Aww, it's so cute! It turned out much better than I thought it would!"
    "Yeah," he agreed, admiring it too.

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    "Well," Miriam sighed, rubbing her hands together and blowing her breath into them. "I best be on my way. My friend is waiting for me in his truck."
    "Oh?" Mr. Hodge asked, glancing toward the road.
    "Yeah. He's my ride over here every day."
    "He?" he inquired. "Why hasn't he ever come to my door with you?"
    "Well," she hesitated, "it was my idea to visit you like this and...I didn't want you to feel intimidated by me showing up with a guy."
    "I wouldn't have felt intimidated."
    "But...would you have been accepting of the two of us instead of it just being me?" she winked.
    Thinking on that for a second, Mr. Hodge replied, "Probably not." Gosh she's good!
    They both chuckled.

    For a brief moment the two just stood there looking at each other, both lost in each other's deepest thoughts about the other. Mostly they studied each other's physical features, thinking that by so doing they could somehow dig up some more information about the other. They'd only just met and there was still a lot they didn't know, a lot they wished to know, but one thing was for certain, they'd begun to like each other and cherished their newly developed friendship.

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    "I guess this is goodbye then," Miriam spoke. "Until tomorrow...Mr. Hodge."

    Even though the sun had fully set and there wasn't much light now, Miriam's beauty had shone out to the man's eyes like the sun on a hot Summer day.

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    "Yes," he whispered. "Until tomorrow...Miriam."

    And with that, Miriam threw her coat back on which she hung onto a tree branch and ran back towards the road, while Mr. Hodge stepped back into the warmth of his home.

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    ****

    As the hours passed into the early evening, Mr. Hodge stepped outside to gather more firewood. It was still snowing and he gazed up at the sky, wondering if it would ever stop.

    His eyes lowered taking notice of the snowman, it's hat and scarf now sprinkled with snowflakes, and he smiled. He couldn't find it in his heart to destroy it after all.

    He headed over to the side of the house where the firewood was placed and before he started gathering a few logs, an interesting thought entered into his mind. There was a lovely blanket of untouched snow a few feet away, no footprints of any kind in it. It was calling to him, especially as he thought of Miriam's wise suggestion from before. Since her first daily visit he'd been feeling much different than he had in years and...it felt good. He wasn't sure how long it would last...

    He wanted to taste some more of that goodness. He wanted to feel like a child again.

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    And amazingly, it really was quite therapeutic.

    ****

    During that same time, back at Miriam's residence, Angelica pulled her friend to the side, away from the guys to share some new juicy gossip with her.

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    They giggled like teenagers after the revelation.

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    Then Miriam got serious and said, "You know...I've got some information you might find interesting."
    "Oh?" Angelica anxiously inquired.
    "Yeah. It's about Mr. Hodge."
    "Oh really? Did you finally find out why he acts like the Grinch during this time of year?"
    "No, but," she paused, "you know how we've always thought of him as this grumpy, old man?"
    Angelica nodded.
    "Well...after getting to know him a little better I don't think...he's really that old at all! Like...he's maybe only 10 years older than we are."
    Angelica's brow furrowed. "Get out!"
    "I'm serious!"
    "How'd you come up with that conclusion?"

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    "Well," Miriam began, "we had a moment today where we were staring at each other and I noticed he doesn't have any facial wrinkles or any strands of white in his hair. He just looked...younger than I expected."
    "Hold up," Angelica stopped. "You two were staring at each other?"
    "Yeeeahh."
    "And why was that?" she smirked.
    Blushing she replied, "It's not what you think ok! It was one of those awkward moments...you know the kind."
    "Mmm hmm," Angelica mumbled, observing. "Then why are your cheeks as bright as cherries right now?"
    "Oh they are so not!!"
    "Guuurrl they SO are!" she cried, playfully slapping her friend's shoulder. "Are you finally starting to indulge in some Chocolate?" She winked.

    45475239984_0b5fa66224_c.jpg

    "Oh my gosh Angelica!" she cried with a gaping smile. "I'm not indulging in ANYTHING! I was just making an observation! Besides, I barely even know Mr. Hodge. He hasn't even told me his first name! And he's still a grump...which personality is totally not my type! So how is it even possible for me to be attracted to him? Especially with that hair!" she grimaced.

    "Honey," Angelica began, "one does not need those kind of details to be attracted to someone. You know that! I mean, how many men have we picked up in the past at parties and bars who we didn't know from Adam and we still made out with them?"
    Miriam lowered her head in slight shame over that reminder. "Ok, I see your point," she reluctantly said.
    "Mmm hmm. So I don't care what you say girl! With you going around showing kindness to young Scrooge, apparently, and warming him up you are SO becoming the smitten kitten!"
    "I am not!" Miriam declared, leaving the foyer.
    "Yeah you just keep telling yourself that," Angelica called back to her.
    "I don't need to..."

    Whatever, Angelica thought with a snicker. She sure enjoyed teasing her bestie about guys. But then she thought deeper on the situation. Wait, WHY am I encouraging this? This IS Scrooge McHodge we're talking about. And him with Miriam? No way! In his DREAMS! I guess Miriam ISN'T smitten.

    But then again why did it sure seem like in that moment she was?

    *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*


    And because I have to be silly. :mrgreen:

    I think Mr. Hodge is thinking something like this right now...
    (Even if you don't like country music, give this a listen. :smirk: One of my favorite songs by these guys!)
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