Last year during the Christmas season, I accepted a challenge to write a 500 word story with HOLLY in it. I thought I’d share it again this year since tis the season again.
“Yeouch. That hurt.” Alana put her bloody index finger in her mouth and sucked on it.
“Grabbing a holly plant by the leaf is asking for it, isn’t it?” Her friend Norah asked with a giggle.
“I love how sympathetic you are. Come on. We’ve gotta go. I wanted some holly to decorate my mantel but I didn’t want to lose a limb in the process.”
Norah glanced about then looked at Alana and whispered, “Don’t turn around but here comes that guy you had a crush on in tenth grade.”
Before Alana could process whom Norah meant, a handsome dark-haired man in a polo shirt and khakis was at her elbow.
“How are you?” He smiled.
His dimples reminded Alana immediately of the days she mooned over him in biology class before he’d moved away. “I’m fine, but having an issue with the holly,”
He reached up and easily took down a massive amount. “You just have to know how to handle it. Kind of like handling a woman.” He winked.
Norah raised her brows and walked off.
Alana, hands on hips, said, “You’ve got to explain that one.”
“Holly is like a woman. She can be beautiful but sometimes put up barriers to intimacy. Those are the spiny parts of the leaves. She can also say things that may make a man not want to be around. That’s the poison in the berries. A man with a gentle touch can tame the wildness and bitterness and hold her in his arms with no problem.”
“Well, you’re some salesman. I’ll take the holly.” Alana held out her arms for the branches.
“You might hurt yourself. Maybe I should deliver it?”
“Wow, I didn’t know this Christmas tree lot made deliveries. That would be great. Do you offer decorating services as well?”
“No, but I offer to take you to dinner.” His smile made her knees weak.
“Sure but I have to take Norah home. What time do you get off?”
“I can meet you in an hour. How about the Italian place across the street? After, I can take the holly to your house.”
“Okay. Let me pay for it. I’ll see you in an hour.”
“I’ll get it. You can pay me later.”
She smiled, caught up to her friend and dashed home to change clothes.
She made it to the restaurant a few minutes late. She walked in and gasped. James, the guy from biology class was dressed in an expensive suit. There was no one in the place but him and two waiters. Holly was draped on every surface and a hundred candles glowed.
“What’s this?” Alana smiled.
“A nice dinner for two.”
“How can you afford to close a restaurant as a Christmas tree salesman?”
“I own this place. It was your mistake to think I worked at the lot.”
“So now what?”
“We dine and then I show you how I hold a woman as if she were holly.”
Alana shivered in anticipation.
A Christmas Story is a movie that everyone in my family likes to watch and quote. It’s such a fun movie and gives great entertainment value in citing different parts of it. We love it so much that I even gave my sister the “fra-gill-ie” leg lamp one year for Christmas. It’s a cute night light she uses in her bathroom all year.
Jean Shepherd wrote the story and also narrates the movie. The reason that it’s this week’s Friday fact is that the 30th anniversary of its release day is this month. 30 years of fun, baby brother in a snow suit, Santa shoving a kid down a slide, washing Ralphie’s mouth out with soap, triple dog dares, and frozen tongues. What better way to welcome the season?
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving full of food, fun and drama-free family time!
If you get bored and need a read, here’s the blurb and an excerpt from my newest story: All I Want for Christmas is a One Night Stand.
Attorney Anna Kincaid doesn’t celebrate Christmas. It’s been a time of loss and sadness for her for too many years.
Matteo Sanchez, a criminal prosecutor, has been searching for the right woman for more years than he cares to recall.
In a local deli, Matteo, seated at the next table overhears a conversation Anna has with her friends that she wants a one night stand for Christmas. The next day, he introduces himself to her at the local bar association Christmas party. After an evening of passion, Anna discovers that Matteo knew about her wish before meeting her. Believing him to be a stalker and a cad, she throws him out of her house. Christmas may prove to be her enemy yet again.
Her phone on the top of the table also kept vibrating with messages from Gina about the stupid bar party that night. Gina had a date and so did Renee and they wanted her to come and be with them. She had no doubt that they would hunt her down if she didn’t agree to go. Damn them. It was so not what she wanted to do. She wanted these depositions to end so she could go home, put on a cozy robe and have cocoa.
It didn’t seem that was going to happen and sure enough, when the day was over and she stepped out of her office to head home, Renee and Gina were standing there.
“Come on. We’re getting ready at Renee’s.” Gina took Anna by the arm.
“I told you I didn’t want to go. What’s so hard to understand about that?”
“We understand. We’re just not letting you do it. You need to get over being Scrooge and get into the party spirit,” Gina said.
“I don’t like Christmas.” Anna wanted to stomp her feet.
“Look, you like Halloween, right?” Renee asked.
“Yeah. I do. So what?”
Gina pulled Anna down the street. “So, let’s pretend it’s a Halloween party and someone has decorated their haunted house as a Christmas house. Can you do that?”
Anna laughed then. “You’re crazy.” She looked over her shoulder. “Both of you.”
“At least you’re laughing now. Come one. We got you a great dress to wear.” Renee jogged to catch up as they headed to the parking deck.
After changing at Renee’s house, Anna and her friends drove to the hotel where the bar association had its party every year. She shivered in the cold when they turned the car over to the valet.
Renee and Gina hurried Anna inside where they met their dates right inside the double doors. Anna glanced around at the number of Christmas trees scattered throughout the lobby. Way too much red and green for her. She giggled a bit at the dress her friends had made her put on. It was a black silk with an orange shawl-back collar. It was prim from the front with a high neckline but from the back, the orange shawl showed her muscled lateral muscles. It was pretty daring for her.
When she slipped the dress on, her friends reminded her of her wish for a one-night stand and their bet. Anna knew there would be no one at the bar party she’d care to run off with for the night but she wore the dress to humor them and to pretend it was a Halloween outfit. They really had tried hard to get her in the spirit of things— the spirit of a holiday that didn’t bother her, that is.
This week’s Tuesday Tales is a “Best of” week where we’re all sharing a prior post so that we can enjoy the upcoming holiday without the stress of coming up with something new- aren’t we nice? hehehe.
This was my very first Tuesday Tale from back in May. It’s from the Christmas story that I have coming out on November 27th from Secret Cravings Publishing and the word prompt was laughter.
They left the room. Anna continued her hold on Matteo’s arm as if he’d thrown her one of those life rings from an ocean liner to rescue her from a trip overboard. The further they got from the ballroom, the more she wanted to bend down and pull off the offending shoe and hurl it. She came really close to doing so when they stepped on the escalator. The tip of the heel caught in the treads and she stumbled.
Luckily, Matteo had a good grip on her and kept her on her feet.
“Thanks.” Anna smiled up at him. “It would’ve been a disaster if I fell down this escalator. I’d never live it down and the members of the bar who haven’t met me yet would know me as that klutz lawyer.”
“I doubt that. They’d know you as a nice woman who sacrificed herself for sexy legs.”
“Huh?” She shook her head. Did he mean he thought she was sexy?
“Yeah. I’m sure you know since you’ve been a woman for quite a while that tall heels make a woman’s legs look longer and more toned. Men sure know it. We notice those things.”
They’d arrived at the bottom of the moving stairs. She stepped off. “I’ve been a woman for quite a while?” She couldn’t help herself. His statement cracked her up. She burst into laughter.
“That really wasn’t a very suave line, was it?”
“No. It absolutely was not.” Anna was still laughing as they moved to the exit.
Outside, she turned to Matteo. “Thanks for helping me out back there and getting me away from Gina with that story about dinner. She and Renee forced me to come tonight and I really was ready to disappear. I owe you one.”
“How about really going to dinner with me then?”
“What part of my feet are killing me don’t you get? I’ve got to get these shoes off.”
“How about this? We order food and I pick it up. There are all kinds of places nearby.”
Well, today was the day to upload the 2013 NaNoWriMo novel for an official word count and I did. I’m a verified winner for the 4th year in a row. This year’s story is called The Eisenger Element. It’s a murder mystery with a dash of thriller and romance all wrapped in one. It also features a prison rodeo and the City of New Orleans- both the French Quarter and the Garden District. We even have a psychic, some prostitutes and a jazz band.
We all know today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK. How could we not with all the media hype around it the last month or so? Movies, tv specials, newspaper articles, and Internet sites talking about it ad nauseum have shoved it down our throats.
Let’s take a moment today and think about not only the loss to a nation but of the more personal loss that his mother, wife, kids and the rest of his family suffered. The family had to grieve so publically, it seems to me that was even more horrendous. They had absolutely no time to truly mourn as they had to be the face of the nation.
I sometimes think the nation forgets that more profound loss of a daddy that made time for his kids – read to them, played with them and was an important part of their lives. Yeah, he may have been a womanizer and not the best spouse but this little nuclear family was the never same again. Having known friends and family who lost parents at a very young age, it has a profound affect on the psyche.
Imagine what their lives may have been had their daddy lived.