~ The Christmas Tree ~
JM Dragon

© by JM Dragon 2007

Happy Holidays All

At some stage in our lives we find we need something or someone. That particular need can occur in the form of a one-off event, a seasonal occurrence or as the great romantics would have us believe…for life!

+ + +

The stars twinkled above the heads of the customers vying desperately to beat each other for the best Christmas tree in the yard of beautiful specimens that dwindled as the night closed in. The scene of the odd skirmish full of less than good-will to all seemed inevitable as harried shoppers staked out their territory in a fight for the best tree. A woman with imposing height entered the throng of each minor clash and with statesman like qualities led the offending parties to opposite ends of the yard to select their tree.

Vanessa Jones smiled, her thin lips drawn like a pencil line on her bony features. Her jaw was more pronounced than most and her nose was a proportional match. Her only contestable asset in the beauty stakes was a bewitching sparkle in her washed out brown eyes that seemed to match her olive complexion. All in all she was just the proverbial girl next door, whom no one bothered with unless they made the effort to do so. If more people had, perhaps Vanessa wouldn’t be partner-less during the Christmas break.

“Hey lady, how much for this sprig?” a gruff sounding voice called out to her.

Vanessa spun around to inspect the potential purchase allowing a smile to etch her face. “Oh you’ve got a beauty there sir,” she said pointing to the tree. “It’s a Norwegian pine…the genuine article for the true Christmas spirit.”

“Yeah, yeah cut the sales crap. How much for this pathetic excuse of a tree?”

The man’s belligerent tone irked Vanessa and she bristled at his less than jolly attitude. Instead of the fifty dollar price tag she added an extra ten to the price. “Sixty and a bargain at that,” she offered in a voice that said there would be no further negotiations.

With a heavy scowl the man handed over the money and muttered, “Price gouger,” as he pulled the tree toward his vehicle. Vanessa watched him as he grunted at the unwieldy tree and she considered giving him a hand. Suddenly her eyes were drawn to a small vehicle driving into the lot and she stepped out of the way before the car mowed her down.

A grin crept across her face for the driver of the vehicle was the reason she volunteered for the late shift every year the last five years. A woman with the reddest hair she’d ever seen dropped down the window and with cheeks matching the colour of her hair apologised profusely. “Sorry about that…I thought I’d left it too late this year.”

Vanessa shook her head. “We stay as late as necessary…well at least until ten. We figure that by then everyone who is going to own a tree will have one.” Her stomach did several somersaults and she tried to stay calm as she spoke with the woman of her dreams.

“I know some people leave buying their tree until Christmas Eve,” the woman blurted before adding, “…everyone says you have the best trees in the state. Besides, it’s only once a year so why not get the best.”

Vanessa nodded as she watched the much smaller woman climb out of her car. “I wouldn’t say in the state but in this area we don’t do so badly. It was my grandfather’s idea years ago and we’ve followed the tradition ever since.” Every year when it was two weeks before Christmas Vanessa’s family sold trees and gave all the proceeds for tree sales on that day to charity and donated any surplus trees to various institutions in the area.

The woman smiled warmly then glanced around the ever dwindling array of trees in the lot. “You seemed to have drawn the short straw again.”

Puzzled by the remark, Vanessa said, “short straw?” When the smaller woman let out a gentle chuckle Vanessa felt her insides warm.

“Yeah, I’ve been coming here for the last six years and you’ve been here five of them.”

The woman’s words evoked giddiness throughout Vanessa’s body. “I didn’t think you noticed…at least,” she mumbled before shaking her head. She held out her hand and said, “As we’ve been acquainted for over five years, I’m Vanessa Jones and you are?” Vanessa was pleasurably surprised by the small hand that gripped hers strongly.

“Claire Ridgeway…pleased to meet you Vanessa.” A slight chuckle accompanied the twinkle of the woman’s sapphire eyes before she added, “I guess I’d better get browsing I don’t want to miss my chance of finding the right tree.”

With a shrug, not wanting the petite woman to go but knowing that she had no reason to halt her progress, Vanessa watched her move along the diminishing lines of trees. My god she’s gorgeous I wonder what she does for Christmas? Hmm, I bet she’s not on her own, probably has a husband or partner waiting at home with the kids. What I wouldn’t give to spend it with her. Her thoughts were interrupted as a man with two children in tow waved money in her direction for his choice of tree.

+ + +

Claire Ridgeway pulled at her jaw in concentration as she checked out the array of trees, small, medium, large and some that were downright enormous. Six years ago she’d moved to the area after her only long term relationship went down the proverbial toilet. She vowed never to get that involved again and six years down the track she kept true to her vow. Though it was tempting, not even Petra’s charms and limitless check book had managed to persuade her to begin another romance.

Each year when the time rolled around to purchase a Christmas tree, Claire had the same thought running through her head–she’d met the right one…she just needed to take a chance. She’d run from love once and wasn’t likely to give up her solo life on a hunch and try again. Besides, who believes in true love anymore…it’s only make-believe. There isn’t anyone out there I can trust–not completely.

Half an hour had passed and Vanessa watched as the small woman stood in front of two trees as her fingers drummed on her purse. Strolling up to her, Vanessa asked, “Are we at the dilemma stage?” When she saw the confused look in the woman’s eyes, she asked, “You have a choice…are finding it hard to decide?”

Claire grinned as she nodded at Vanessa. “Hmm, they will both fit in my apartment but I can’t decide if I want the traditional green tree or this lovely silver one. What do you think?”

Vanessa peered at the trees and gave the question due consideration as she deliberated on their individual merits. “You know, I don’t think I can decide,” she said as the twinkle that danced in her eyes lit up her face. “They are both good trees so whichever you choose it will an excellent choice.”

Claire was amazed at the transformation in the woman’s face. It reminded her of putting lights on the tree and switching them on–the wow factor. She began to speak but suddenly felt tongue-tied as unintelligible words tumbled in her head. She took a deep breath and finally managed to make a somewhat intelligent response. “Will you make it…the choice that is?”

“Me?” Vanessa said as she touched her chest. “Oh I don’t know… a Christmas tree it’s a personal thing…at least it is in our house.” Vanessa felt the glow of being asked her opinion, even if it was only the choice of a tree.

Claire felt a sinking in the pit of her stomach and the thoughts running through her mind seemed incoherent if not completely idiotic. ‘God what an idiot I am,’ the little voice inside her head said. She’s probably sick of trees selling and here I am asking her which one to select. She tried to clear her mind so the voice would shut up–it didn’t. I bet she doesn’t even choose her own tree, probably her kid’s do.

So caught up in her inner struggle, Claire had to shake her head as the words Vanessa said made the sinking feeling disappear–she was thrown a lifeline.

“I’m going to be closing in ten minutes. Want to have coffee at the café on the corner,” Vanessa said pointing to the small well-lit café a few hundred yards away. “…we can discuss your dilemma.”

With a beaming smile Claire nodded. “Great, thanks. Want me to wait for you here or…”

“The café is fine…you can grab a table for us.”

Claire grinned. “Sure thing, I’ll see you over there in ten minutes.”

Vanessa’s attention turned to a couple who were desperately looking around the enormous tree they selected. “How much for this one?” the man asked.

+ + +

Once the last customer left, Vanessa whistled an out of tune Christmas favourite as she looked over the two trees Claire had selected. She placed them to one side so they wouldn’t be given away and let out a happy sigh. Then with a spring in her step, she left the lot, locking the gate behind her before briskly walking over to the café.

As she neared the small building she stopped in her tracks, a breathless feeling overtaking her as she stared at the vision in front of her. Claire Ridgeway was seated at one of the outside tables staring up into the stars brightly lit sky. Her red hair appeared to glow and for a few seconds she looked like an angel. At least that was the lasting impression Vanessa had before she was caught off balance as sapphire eyes captured hers, a twinkle in them matching the sky above.

“Hi there you made it, do you mind sitting outside? I love the sky at night when it’s as clear as this.”

Vanessa quickly took a seat opposite the woman and smiled warmly. “Me too. Have you ordered yet?”

Claire, with a serious expression in her eyes, gave Vanessa a quick glance. “No, I don’t know what you like. Although I bet I can guess?”

With a hearty chuckle Vanessa nodded. “Go for it?”

Slipping out of her seat, Claire went inside the small building and returned a few minutes later. “Ok all done.”

“I thought you were going to tell me what I liked rather than go ahead and order it. What if I don’t like it?” There was an underlying laughter in her words. If only you knew I’d like anything you gave me.

Shaking her finger at Vanessa, Claire giggled. “We can always replace it. Now please, tell me something more about yourself?”

Vanessa gave the simple version of her life. She was a veterinarian, working in a farming community about a hundred miles south during the year. She came home for her parent’s birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with the odd happy event tagged on occasionally. “I’m single and…” taking a chance Vanessa quietly said, “Looking for the right woman.” Vanessa’s eyes darted everywhere but at Claire as she asked, “What about you Claire?”

Claire paused for a second. Vanessa’s admission that she was looking for a woman rather than a man for a relationship, had her doing a happy dance inside her head. With a smile she replied, “I moved here about six years ago. I needed a change of scenery after my girlfriend decided to play the field and took our relationship down the proverbial toilet. I work as a personal assistant to Petra Davis…she’s a divorce lawyer and has one of the largest law practices for that kind of thing. My parents and I don’t get on that well, we talk on the phone but I haven’t seen them in nearly ten years.”

The melancholy words relating to Claire’s parents had Vanessa impulsively laying her larger hand on the smaller one resting on the table. The electric charge that coursed through her veins at the simple touch made her pull back suddenly.

Claire gave Vanessa an odd look and was about to speak when their coffee arrived. One was flat black and the other a sumptuous looking cappuccino complete with two chocolate Christmas elves.

“Who gets this one,” the waitress asked as the cup of black coffee hovered between the two women.

Throwing back her head, Vanessa chuckled as she winked at Claire.

For a few silent seconds Claire waited and then grinned. “That one is for my friend and the other lovely concoction is for me.”

The waitress smiled and said, “Enjoy,” before going back inside.

“Was I right?” Claire asked as she watched Vanessa study the cup in front of her.

With a smile that lit up her eyes and gave Claire that ‘wow’ fluttering in the pit of her stomach again, Vanessa replied, “absolutely.”

An hour later the lights in the café were dimmed and the two women looked around–they were the only customers left. “I think they’re trying to tell us something,” Vanessa mused as she reluctantly pushed her coffee cup away. They’d had a pleasant chat about everything under the sun, except one thing-their current love lives.

“I think you’re right. It’s getting late and we both have work tomorrow or …well I do anyway.” Claire hesitantly got up trying to make their time together last a while longer. During their conversation over coffee, Claire was amazed when Vanessa had volunteered to chose a tree for her and deliver it the following Saturday. “Will you really chose the tree for me and deliver it Saturday?”

Vanessa beamed a special smile that made her eyes captivating, “Yes I will. I have a full schedule this week but I’ll specially make the trip back here this weekend to deliver your tree.” She gave Claire a crooked smile before she added, “What would Santa say if you didn’t have a tree to put your presents under?”

They both laughed at the comment and reluctantly stood all the way up. Both shuffled their feet nervously before Vanessa held out her hand and Claire took it like a lifeline. “Thank you for coffee Claire. I’ve enjoyed our chat…I hope we can do it again sometime?”

Claire was about to answer when her cell phone rang. “Sorry, I need to take this,” she mumbled before she said, “Hi.”

Vanessa relinquished the hand she was holding and tried to focus on something other than the one-sided conversation. It was impossible to do.

Claire said, “You can’t come over I’m not home right now.” Then she listened before saying, “I know I know and I’m not on my own…” Claire’s eyes tracked to Vanessa. “I’m with a friend. You don’t need to worry I’m not alone in the city at this time of night.” Claire blew out an exaggerated breath. “Look can we leave this for tomorrow Petra I’m really tired and all I want to do is go to bed.”

Vanessa heard the irritation mounting in Claire’s tone then she heard her give a resigned chuckle. “Ok, ok come over I’ll be home shortly.”

The call ended and with it Vanessa’s hopes. That person has to be special to visit at this time of night.Didn’t she say she worked for someone called Petra? There goes my darn fool dreaming again thinking something wonderful might be happening. Yep and Rudolf has a red nose!

“Look I’m sorry about that,” Claire said. “I’m sorry but need to go…shall we make a time for the delivery on Saturday?” Claire asked as she absently thought about the phone call. She was irritated with herself for allowing Petra steam roll her into coming over to her apartment. All she really wanted to do was continue spending the evening with Vanessa. She fits, as weird as that sounds to me, she does.

Vanessa remained silent for a few seconds then with a smile that didn’t reach her eyes she nodded. “Sure. How does ten in the morning sound to you?”

Claire grinned. “Perfect. Thanks …for everything I’ve really enjoyed this Vanessa.” She wanted to say more but unless she didn’t leave immediately she would arrive at her apartment and find a pissed off Petra. If that happened, it would make it nigh on impossible to get rid of her without major hassle.

“Yes, it was lovely to meet you Claire. Goodbye, travel safe. ” Vanessa spun on her heels as she let her stilted words wash over her while her stomach churned–her chance with Claire was lost, she’d waited darn too many years to take the simple step and ask her out.

As her leaden feet took her back to her sanctuary the Christmas tree lot she couldn’t focus on anything but the small woman with the sapphire eyes. After unlocking the gate and closing it behind her, she glanced around at the trees that were left before they rested on the two Clair had picked out. Then she felt the tears well up. “God I feel like an idiot. I’ve been pinning for something I simply can’t have.”

She looked at the two trees Claire had selected and through a shimmer of tears made a choice.

+ + +

Claire felt like she had fairy dust in her shoes as she floated around her apartment in a daze. Glancing at the clock, she beamed as she watched the second hand skip along. It was nine-fifty and it wasn’t just any Saturday morning–Vanessa Jones would be delivering her tree in ten minutes. Since meeting the woman, Claire had been feeling ridiculously happy and nothing, not even Petra’s tantrums when she’d refused yet another romantic overture, could diminish the memory of the magical evening she’d had with Vanessa.

The timer on her oven bleeped and she sped over, opened the door as the delicious aroma of freshly baked muffins greeted her. Once they were on a tray and she placed them on the kitchen table she flicked on the coffee pot and waited for Vanessa’s arrival.

She stood by the front window and when she heard the buzzer in her apartment she glanced down to the building’s entry door. He stomach did somersaults and a variety of flips when she saw the tree with a pair of feet peeking out of the bottom of a tree–Vanessa had arrived.

Pressing the button to allow Vanessa inside the building, Claire, with the excitement of a child on Christmas day, opened her door and waited. She was giddy as she watched the tip of a silver coloured tree making its way up the three stairs. She chuckled for she was glad that she was on the first floor and Vanessa didn’t have to trudge up several flights of stairs with a tree in tow. Bet she wouldn’t be that happy with me if she did.

With laughter filling her voice, Claire shouted, “I’m this way Vanessa follow my voice.”

There was a muffled reply but duly the tree was pushed forward and Claire moved back into her apartment. “My god the tree is enormous did I really chose that one?”

Once the tree was righted inside her small apartment, Claire watched in fascination as not one but two sets of feet moved along with the tree. All she’d seen so far were their shoes and jeans.

“Oh Vanessa thank you, thank you, this is gorgeous. Did I really pick such a large tree?” Claire chuckled as the two people emerged from behind the tree–she gasped.

“Hi, I’m Jackie this is my husband Stephen. Vanessa sends her apologies she couldn’t get back in town and she said she promised you the tree.”

The woman was younger than Vanessa and very pretty. The man at her side was the complete opposite in looks. He had the craggiest face she’d ever seen and she speculated that if it were a mountain she could climb it. When the man smiled Claire understood exactly why they were together. She’d had that same reaction when Vanessa smiled and it illuminated her eyes.

“She did,” Claire said as she felt her happiness begin to deflate like a punctured tire. She didn’t do a good job in disguising her feelings as the woman gave her a piercing look. Then Jackie’s face softened as she said, “I know this is a bit cheeky, but that coffee smells good.”

The look the woman gave her had Claire placing her hands to her hot cheeks mortified that they were probably the same colour as her hair. “Oh no, how rude of me, please sit down. How do you both take your coffee…oh, I just made some fresh muffins for…would you like one.”

The man beamed a brighter smile as he sat at the kitchen table. “Black for me and a muffin would be great…they smell great. Did you make them?”

“Yeah I did,” Claire whispered as she went over to the coffee pot. After she poured a cup of black coffee she returned to the table and placed the cup next to the man. She gestured to the muffins, “Help yourself…they should still be warm.”

Her eyes then tracked to the woman who was staring openly at her.

“She was right about you…”

Stephen’s eyes grew wide as he glared at his wife. “Jackie you can’t say anything you promised,” the man warned as he bit into a muffin. Another of his beaming smiles filled his face as he looked at Claire. “These are delicious,” he said as he gobbled another bite.

Claire was puzzled. There appeared to be a sense of familiarity about the whole situation but she was certain she had never met either of them before. She absently nodded and said, “Thanks.” Her eyes turned to the woman. “What can I get you Jackie?”

The younger woman chuckled. “Can’t you guess?” What Jackie hadn’t counted on was the crestfallen look on Claire’s face. Jackie moved forward and placed her hand on Claire’s shoulder. “I’m sorry. Vanessa was impressed when you chose the kind of coffee she likes. She’ll be even more impressed when I tell her you made muffins and her favourite too…blueberry.”

The whole situation was surreal for the strangers were talking to her like they knew her–knew her well. A niggling annoyance settled over as she realised that Vanessa must have told Jackie about the time they shared at the café. “I’m going to make myself a latte…do you want to join me?”

Jackie chuckled. “Wow you are good! That’s my favourite.”

There was silence in the room for a few minutes as Claire made the beverage. When she returned to the table with the steaming cups she said, “How well do you know Vanessa?”

Stephen let out a deep chortle. “They’re sisters, not that you can tell. As Van always says, Jackie got the beauty and she got the brains in the family.”

Claire blinked rapidly as she digested the news and her annoyance began to abate. Vanessa’s sister. Perhaps all wasn’t as bleak as it appeared. “I’m so sorry you had to bring the tree. If she had called I could have collected it.” Yeah right she didn’t have your phone number idiot you were too busy taking a call from Petra.

“Hey don’t apologise it’s great to finally see you at last. We always thought you were a figment of her imagination but I can categorically state that isn’t true. You really do have the fiercest red hair I’ve ever seen. She thinks you’re beautiful…”

Stephen stood up and forcibly announced, “We need to go Jackie. Mom and Dad won’t be impressed if we leave them any second longer than necessary in the mall with the kids.”

Jackie laughed and rolled her eyes as she caught Claire’s puzzled stare. “We have two boys they’ll have my in-laws beat in an hour dragging them from shop to shop. Hey Claire, it was great to meet you, see you soon I hope.”

Bemused and confused Claire said, “Thank you for bringing the tree…tell Va…,” she said before stopping. Tell her what? “I hope you have a safe trip home and a wonderful Christmas.”

+ + +

Once she closed the door, she went to the window and watched as their van pulled out into the street. With a sigh she slumped down on a chair and gazed at the monster tree that dwarfed the room. As if in a stupor, Claire remained in the chair as her mind traveled over the last half hour as it always stopped with Jackie’s words. ‘She thinks you’re beautiful.’

“How I wish things were different and Petra hadn’t called me. Who knows what might have happened?” She got up and stood in front of the tree and shook her head. “Who knew it was this big.” The deflated feeling she had at not seeing Vanessa again began to ease somewhat as she began planning how to decorate the tree.

Something caught her eye and she squinted as her hand reached for an envelope poking out of the top branches. Holding the envelope in her hand she grinned when she saw her name before she quickly ripped it open. The writing was neat and concise–exactly as I would have expected her writing to be. She frowned. Although she hadn’t understood any of the feelings she had about the woman she realized that they hadn’t just developed in a week. No, she had dreamed of Vanessa ever since she first saw her five years earlier. All it took was a few hours over coffee to start one crazy but incredibly lovely week waiting in anticipation to see Vanessa again.

She looked down at the precise writing and wiped away a tear as she read…


Hi Claire,

Sorry I couldn’t make it to bring your tree to you. My sister volunteered, who knows why. I want to wish you and yours a marvellous Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.

I decided on the silver one it looks great. You and your partner Petra will enjoy it I’m sure.



Claire sank down on her couch as the last sentence reverberated in the silent room. Her eyes tracked to the tree and she wiped a hand across her eyes. “She thinks I have a partner and it’s Petra. How can she think that?” Shit! That darned phone call…Petra you have a lot to answer for. She bit her lip and shook her head as she tried to make sense of everything that happened in one short week. One thing was certain; she would have to make certain that Petra knew there would never be anything more to their relationship. “I could have just lost the one person who might make my life wonderful instead of just average. What the heck do I do now?”

For almost an hour Claire sat wondering how she could make things right with Vanessa. Once she remembered something that might help, her mind went into overdrive. “On Monday I’ll put my plan into action.” She then said a silent prayer hoping that Christmas wishes really do come true.

+ + +

Vanessa Jones smiled at the people who greeted her as they found empty seats in the pews in front of and behind her. For more years than she cared to remember the small church located a couple of blocks from her parent’s home had a traditional carol service on Christmas Eve. Each year, as far back as she could remember, their family came to the carol service and sang along with old friends and strangers. Then they would head home for a late supper and the unwrapping of one of their Christmas gifts. It was the only day of the year she actually attended church and that was because she didn’t want to upset her family. Surprisingly enough, it had never really been a chore. It was as if for this one hour on Christmas Eve all the troubles of their lives whatever they may be vanished as they sang the carols heralding the birth of Jesus.

When Jackie arrived along with her family and Vanessa nodded waving them toward the vacant seats next to her. She whispered “I saved you the usual spot.” It was a personal joke between them since for the last fifteen years they’d occupied the same row in the church. Vanessa was certain the preacher must put a sticker on the pew saying reserved, because no one ever had sat there.

“Thanks Sis. Mom and dad were right behind me but they’ve decided to sit with Dotty Allan this year.” When Vanessa gave her a blank look, Jackie just rolled her eyes and raised her hand to her mouth before she whispered, “It’s the first year she’ll be alone since Daniel’s passing.”

Vanessa nodded her head as sympathy emanated from her expressive eyes. She looked toward the seat the Allan’s had always taken and gave Dotty a nod and her parents a brief smile. Turning to her sister she asked, “There’s plenty of room here why didn’t Dotty join us?”

Jackie shot her husband a quick glance and then with a bright smile said, “Who knows.”

“Who indeed,” Vanessa quietly replied. Her eyes took in various stained glass windows and in the hush of the church her thoughts drifted to her own loneliness. She had spent five years dreaming of the red haired woman and now she knew it could never be. A sense of bereavement filled her mind as the thought of moving on without the dream of Claire settled into her heart. I should have moved on years ago, what a total idiot I was. Glancing round again, she shook her head and then bent it as she idly picked up the song book from the pocket in front of her. The words ‘if only’ kept spinning around in her head. If only we hadn’t chatted…if only we didn’t have coffee together…if only. She’d spent so long dreaming about something that could never be that once she actually met the woman it hurt far more than she ever expected it would.

The music began to play as the preacher entered from the pocket doors and took his position at the small alter. Vanessa let her sorrows go as she became engrossed in the preacher’s warm welcome. As the parishioners rose and picked up their hymnals, no one seemed to notice as the entrance door quietly opened and then with equal quiet closed.

The initial strain of, We Three Kings, began to play as Vanessa felt someone slide in close to her. Shifting her gaze slightly, she gave the figure a cursory look then shot her gaze back to stare at the person.

“Hi Vanessa, Jackie mentioned you’d be here tonight. I came here to thank you personally for the tree, it’s beautiful.” Claire gave a small hesitant smile and waited. The sounds of the congregation singing drowned out Vanessa’s startled reply.

A quick glace at the smirk on her sister’s face told Vanessa all she needed to know. They had this all planned. When the last chorus was sung Vanessa blinked rapidly and turned to face Claire fully.

“It wasn’t necessary Claire.” Idiot, she’s here the woman of my dreams and all I can say is that her inner voice taunted.

Another song began an enthusiastic rendition of, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, which duly prevent more conversation. When it finished Claire sighed heavily, “I know but …I wanted, no needed to see you again. I kind of hoped you did too?”

There in that cold church amid the joyous renditions of songs marking the birth of Jesus Christ, something else was born as the two women stared at each other.

A twinkle as bright as the star that shone for the birth of Christ seemed to emanate from Vanessa’s eyes, as a lump the size of an iceberg settled in her throat preventing her from speaking. All she could do was gaze in wonder, and didn’t care who saw it either. Several eyes fixed on them, most notably her family. Finally finding her voice she asked, “What about your partner? Won’t she wonder where you are?”

Claire shook her head and this time she smiled openly. “I don’t have a partner, lover or anyone else that means anything close to how I feel about you…and that’s in one short evening. Can you imagine what I’m going to be like after a full day? You’ll never get rid of me.”

There, in that church where some would say their love was a travesty, Vanessa knew it was the most perfect gift she’d ever been given. Isn’t that what God preached- love and to accept love. Here Claire has opened her heart leaving herself bare? Can I do the same?

Reaching down, she clasped the smaller hand in her larger one and whispered, “I guess you’ll never get rid of me either because I’ve felt like that every time I’ve seen you for the past five years.”

The final song, Joy to the World, began and with hands gently but securely clasped the two women sang as loud as possible. Knowing that in their worlds, joy had indeed been blessed upon them this Christmas.

Happy Holidays

New Beginnings
JM Dragon and Erin O'Reilly

An Intaglio Publication

Available now at SCP and Bella Distribution

View Trailer and Listen to excerpt read by JM Dragon

Constructive comments are always welcome Thank you.  Julie
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