¤Under The Mistletoe¤ Summary: Lizzie Daniels is dreading Christmas at home because everyone around her is happily married or happily in love. Unlike them, she's never been in love. All she can think of is a certain gorgeous guy she once saw at the mall. So when her sister invites guests to stay with them, Lizzie must be hospitable and friendly, and she realizes she just might have her first chance of love. For Lizzie Daniels, love just might be under the Christmas tree this year, or under the mistletoe.

A/N. okay, okay, I know you all probably hate me now. Sorry for not updating fast [and soon] enough. You probably think it's a sorry excuse but I had to do schoolwork first. *sigh* thank God for weekends! And I figured, what a perfect way to end my story and finish it on Valentine's day! :) Oh yeah, happy Valentine's, readers!

This is it – the part when wishes come true, when the fairytale ends, and when the heart finally gives in to the feeling of love… :)

+(not for the last time) READ, ENJOY, REVIEW (not for the last time)+


Two weeks later…

"Merry Christmas!" Lizzie exclaimed as everyone held up his or her glass in a toast. There was a chorus of 'Merry Christmas' from the others. It was December 24th, the night before Christmas.. Sally and Spencer were back from their two-day honeymoon (they didn't want to spend Christmas honey-mooning without their family).

From Lizzie gathered, Sally and Spencer were planning on continuing their honeymoon after the holidays. The thought made her feel sad. Everyone was leaving after the holidays, going back to the separate lives that they lived. Looking around the house, she realized it wouldn't ring with noise until next Christmas, or maybe until the summer holidays.

But she realized with a sinking heart that her summer holidays would probably not as good as it was ten years ago, when the entire family would come home and they'd spend most of their time swimming at the lake and riding around the grounds.

Right now, she looked around the room and felt the Yuletide spirit washing over her like warm hot chocolate after a day out on the snow. They were having their usual family reunion – dinner, and afterwards, they were going to open their presents.

"Oh, cheer up, Liz," Sally said, walking over to her to give her a tight hug. "Merry Christmas!"

"I'm okay," Lizzie replied, smiling. "I'm okay."

Sally gave her an I-know-you-more-than-you-think look, but she didn't pursue the subject. She merely leaned over and whispered, "You'll be fine, Liz."

Lizzie sighed deeply, and felt her smile grow wider. Yup, she was going to be fine. Everything would change, but as they, life goes on. She would just have to learn to accept these changes and live with it.

"Elizabeth!" Matt hollered, engulfing Lizzie in a big bear hug. "How's my favorite younger sister?"

Lizzie laughed when Matt let her down. She gave him a wry smile. "You haven't called me 'Elizabeth' ever since the first grade!" she remarked, "And more so, I'm your only younger sister. How can I be your favorite?"

"Because you're cool, Lizzie, darling," Mark inserted, giving her a hug. "Merry Christmas!"

Lizzie eyed her brother dubiously. "Darling?"

Mark laughed. "Must be the Christmas spirit."

"Yeah," Lizzie agreed, laughing along with him, "It's a big change from being called 'butt-face' or 'snot-loser', you know."

Mark and Matt both guffawed. "Those were the days!"

Oh yeah, those were the days, Lizzie thought, watching as Mark and Matt mingled with the others. Sophia and Judith were also there, leaving the on the 26th to spend Christmas with their family.

"Merry Christmas, Lizzie!" Steph and Tanya both exclaimed, stepping up to her and giving her a hug.

It was Robbie's turn after. "Merry Christmas, Liz!"

Then came Spencer. "How's my favorite sister-in-law?" Spencer inquired with a wink. He hugged Lizzie, "Thanks for everything, Lizzie. Happy Christmas to you, I hope all your wishes come true."

"They already have," Lizzie answered when they both pulled apart.

Spencer grinned at her. "I should've known."

"Lizzie!" Luke exclaimed. "Merry Christmas!"

"My other end of the Daniels' line," John said, chuckling and bending down to give her a kiss on the forehead. "Merry Christmas!"

Lizzie smiled fondly at him. "And to you, big brother."

"Lizzie! You still haven't hugged me!" Becky demanded with a pout.

"With all these relatives, it's hard to keep track!" Lizzie joked, giving her sister a tight hug. "Merry Christmas, Becks. Thanks for everything."

Lizzie moved around, greeting her cousins and her aunts and uncles, until she reached her parents. "Mom, dad, merry Christmas!"

"My baby girl," her dad said softly, giving her a peck on the nose.

Her mom smiled at her, eyes twinkling. "Merry Christmas, my love."

Lizzie smiled cheerfully at both of them. Her mom called all of them 'my love'. Lizzie and her siblings were apt to tease their mom about having seven 'my loves'. She stood in between her parents, as everyone gathered around and started to sing Christmas carols. 

After a while, everyone walked in the living room, where the Christmas tree was standing. Underneath it all, were thousands of presents.

"All right, before anything," Sally said through the noise.

"The first present to be opened," Becky added smiling at Lizzie, who's brow furrowed.

"What?" she asked, kneeling down on the carpet.

Sally took a present from underneath the Christmas tree and handed it to Lizzie. "Because you've done so much for this family, and because you're doing so great in your first year of college, and because you're probably feeling lonely right now, we have a surprise for you. Here open it," she said excitedly.

Lizzie looked at them suspiciously. "I've done so much for this family? Like what? What is this?"

"Oh, don't ask any questions! Just open it!" Becky squealed, growing impatient, though she was smiling.

John and Luke both laughed.

"You're in for a surprise, Liz," Luke said grinning.

"You knew?" Sally shrieked.

At this, Spencer laughed. "Sorry," he said sheepishly.

Lizzie frowned at all of them. "What is the meaning of this?" she asked. "Is this some kind of prank? Is this gift gonna blow right in my face and my face would be covered with pudding or icing or whatever?"

"No, nothing like that," Matt reassured her, his hands nestled tightly in Sophia's hand.

Becky's jaw dropped. "Whoa, he knows too?"

"Oh, Rebecca, so does everyone. Even Stephanie and Tanya and Robbie and Judith and Sophia," Mrs. Daniels suddenly said. She looked at Lizzie, "Don't worry, dear. You'll find yourself smiling once you've opened that gift and once you find out what the surprise is."

"See, mom? You get out of breath just saying each member of this large family," Lizzie joked, giggling slightly. She excitedly tore off the wrapping, wondering what her crazy family had come up with as a surprise. She hadn't felt like this in weeks! In months!

The last time she probably felt this excited and happy (and giddy) was on her sixteenth birthday. Sweet sixteen.

Finally, she removed the wrapping and inside was a box. She lifted the lid of the box and she took out a framed photograph. She gasped when she saw what it was.

It was a picture of her and Jordan, when they first kissed underneath the mistletoe. Their faces were inches apart, and there was a sweet smile on both of their faces. They were looking intently at each other – Jordan looking down at her, and she looking up at him. His hands were on her waist, and hers were wrapped around his neck.

"Oh my God," she whispered, her heart beating faster. She could see the how much they looked in love.

"You like it?" a voice suddenly behind her asked.

She recognized it instantly.

"Jordan!" she exclaimed. She turned around, and sure enough, he was standing there with Lily, Ethan and his parents. "I can't believe this," she said, scrambling up and throwing her arms around him. "I missed you!" she whispered in his ear.

"I missed you too," Jordan whispered back hugging her tight.

"We knew you missed each other so we had to do something," Sally explained. "This was all Spencer's idea," she added, looking at Spencer fondly.

"Really?" Lizzie asked, releasing Jordan, and glancing over at Spencer.

"Guilty as charged. I had a little help from Ethan, and from everyone," Spencer said taking Sally's hand, and pulling her close to him.

"We all noticed how horrible you were, Liz. I mean, you were moping around in agony and talking to yourself, little John was terrified. We didn't know at first what happened until Becky explained it to me," Robbie spoke up.

"It was us, women, who explained to our husbands what you were feeling," Stephanie said, winking at Luke.

"Yeah, I guess that's us. Clueless men," Luke kidded, placing an arm around Steph.

"Who took the picture?" Lizzie asked, feeling her breath caught in her throat. She bent down to retrieve the picture and stared at it. She could still remember every detail of that night, feel every detail as if it were happening now. Jordan's hand automatically went around her waist, moving her closer to him, both of them staring at the picture.

"That would be me," Ethan spoke up from behind them.

Lizzie turned around. "You did?"

"Yeah, and he also heard your teasing while you were both arguing about kissing underneath the mistletoe," Mark spoke up. "I was there too. We both of us heard everything, so naturally, we told everyone," he added with a grin.

Jordan and Lizzie both blushed.

"I don't get it," Lizzie mumbled, a goofy smile on her face. She turned to Spencer, "You fixed up all of this even while you were in your honeymoon?"

"Well, no. Sally called home two days later and got the story from everyone. And I called Ethan, he said that Jordan wasn't doing well, also feeling miserable. Then he told me your story underneath the mistletoe. I realized I had to do something to get you two together," Spencer explained, his face unsuccessfully trying to hide his pleasure.

"He really did miss you, Lizzie," Lily suddenly said, her voice cheerful.

Lizzie knelt down and gave her a hug. "You certainly sound happy for someone whose brother was miserable," she teased, kissing Lily on the cheek. "Your wish has come true," she whispered.

Lily broke out in a huge smile.

"And I think my promise has been granted," Jordan said with a wink.

Lily laughed merrily, and threw her arms around Jordan and Lizzie. "Oh thank you, thank you!"

"Can we open our presents now?" John Junior mumbled.

Everyone laughed.

"John!" Tanya scolded, still laughing.

"Your son needs to be patient, John," Luke said to his brother.

"He doesn't need to," John replied chuckling, reaching over to ruffle his son's hair.

"Yeah, his father is made that way," Tanya explained, smiling appreciatively at her husband. Dina was seated beside her.

"Honey!" John exclaimed in defense.

Everyone laughed once more.

"All right, show's over. Now that all my children are happily in love, it's my grandchild that needs to be showered with gifts," Mr. Daniels said as he motioned for John to sit beside him. He reached under the Christmas tree and handed it to John.

"Thanks, Grandpa!" John exclaimed tearing off the wrapping.

And soon, presents were being given away, and everyone was tearing off gifts wrappings.

Lizzie rounded on Jordan. "You knew about this didn't you?"

"Sort of," he replied sheepishly. "Ethan told me about the picture, and when I saw, I knew it was the Christmas gift I was going to give you. And from there, I arranged for us to come here. I really missed you," he added, reaching for her hand and squeezing it tight.

Lizzie smiled lovingly at him. "It's nice to finally meet you," she said politely to Jordan's parents. "Jordan's told me a lot of good things about you."

"I hope so," Mr. Mills said with a chuckle. "It's a pleasure to have finally met the girl who's been driving my Jordan crazy in love and my daughter crazy happy."

"Dad," Jordan chastised, a faint blush staining his cheeks.

Lizzie giggled.

"Well it's true, sweetheart," Mrs. Mills said earnestly. She turned to Lizzie, "Jordan couldn't stop talking about this girl he saw at the mall months ago, kept saying how beautiful she was and how he was madly in love with her. When he arrived here, he was shocked to find out that that girl was you."

Jordan coughed. "Mom, okay, stop it."

"Boy, do I love seeing you sweat," Ethan said jokingly. He clapped Jordan on the back. "Now you know how I felt when mom and dad were left alone with Dana for about two seconds."

"We were only asking questions," Mr. Mills argued.

"And saying things," Mrs. Mills added, smiling.

"Asking awkward questions and saying embarrassing things," Ethan corrected with a shake of his head. When Jordan started to lead his parents to meet the Daniels', and Lizzie followed them, Ethan grabbed her by the arm. "Merry Christmas, Lizzie."

Lizzie smiled shyly at him. She wasn't that close to Ethan. "Merry Christmas to you to. Why didn't you bring Dana here?"

Ethan laughed. "It's not my family."

"Well, you're a friend of this family and any of your friends is our friend," Lizzie explained.

"Or do you mean, any of Jordan's friends is your friend?" Ethan winked at her, causing Lizzie to blush deeply. "Don't worry, I'll stop teasing you…after a while. Great picture by the way," he said, nodding towards the frame that was still hanging from Lizzie's hand.

She blinked, remembering suddenly that it was still in her hand.

"I'm glad that Jordan has you," Ethan said seriously. "And I'm glad that you both found each other. Take care of him, will you? He's got a soft spot for you, and a tender heart."

Lizzie smiled at Ethan. He smiled back at her, before walking towards Lily.

This is the best Christmas ever, Lizzie thought happily as she stared down at the picture.

"You know, if you stare at it all night, I think they'll finally kiss," Jordan whispered to her, his breath tickling her. He wrapped her arms around her waist, his chin on her right shoulder.

"You think so?" Lizzie queried teasingly, tilting her head to the side, leaning against him.

His lips brushed lightly on her cheek. "I know so."

Lizzie moved away from him, and grabbing his hand, led him away from the living room. She was glad everyone was busy with their presents that they had gone unnoticed. Lizzie set the picture frame on a table and turned to face Jordan.

He was smiling when he captured her in his arms.

"Oh you," she said accusingly. "Don't ever leave like that."

The day after the wedding, Lizzie woke up to find that Jordan had already left. She hadn't been able to talk to him until three days after the wedding, and that was only through email.

"I'm sorry," Jordan said, pulling her close.

Lizzie sighed happily. "I just missed you."

"Same here," he murmured.

"You never told me about that…" she paused, and surveyed him, "girl you saw at the mall months ago."

"Oh that beautiful girl I saw whom I fell in love with, because she saved my sister?" Jordan clarified, a playful smile tugging at his lips. "What do you want to now?"

"Nothing more," Lizzie said honestly, shaking her head slightly. "I just can't believe it."

"Believe what?"

Lizzie reached up to wrap her arms around his neck. "I can't believe how we felt the same way. I mean, when I saw you that day at the mall, I got heartbroken because I thought you were married already!"

Jordan laughed. "Right, I remember that."

"And when you said you weren't married, it didn't stop me from thinking that you were probably taken and what were the chances I'd see you again?"

"I know. Who would've known we'd end up together?"

"Must be the fates," Lizzie said softly.

"You believe in that?" Jordan asked, his eyes staring intently at her.

Lizzie looked up at him, and nodded. "Like I believe in love."

Jordan kissed her lightly on the lips. Closing his eyes, he touched his forehead with hers and when he opened them, Lizzie could see the tears glistening on the corners of his eyes. "Like I believe in learning to love again."

Lizzie understood what he meant, and she leaned on tiptoe to kiss the corner of his eyes.

"I love you, Lizzie," he murmured softly.

"I love you, Jordan," Lizzie answered, from her heart. And as their lips met, a flash went out in their faces, and they heard Mark's merry laugh.

"And here's another picture to frame!" he exclaimed, while the rest of the family laughed in the living room.   

Lizzie and Jordan headed back to the living room, where their presents awaited them, where their family teased them, where they opened the doors to their future together and where they embraced the magic and miracle of love.



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