Brianna stared out the window in her office, watching the falling snowflakes. It was only the beginning of December, but the Chicago streets were already coated with white, glistening snow. Brianna smiled, thinking about how much she enjoyed the city in the wintertime. All at once, her thoughts were interrupted by laughter coming from the hall. There goes Alexandra again, she thought. Sure enough, when Brianna looked out her door and into the hall, she saw Alexandra and John. The two had been together for several months now, and Brianna could never seem to avoid seeing them with their arms around each other, laughing or sharing a kiss. Brianna was happy for her co-workers, but every time she saw them it reminded her that she didn't have a special someone in her life.
At that moment, Alexandra drifted into Brianna's office. She was a tall, blonde woman with a dazzling smile, and she seemed to light up whatever room she came into. As she walked up to Brianna, she held out her left hand. On her finger was a sparkling diamond ring.
"Brianna darling! I have to tell you the news! John and I are engaged!" she exclaimed. "He proposed to me last night."
"That's wonderful!" Brianna replied, trying to match Alexandra's enthusiasm. "Congratulations."
"Thank you! I feel like I'm floating right now," she gushed. "He proposed at the perfect time too, just at the start of the Christmas season."
Brianna smiled. "You're a very lucky woman. I wish you two the best."
Alexandra smiled back. "Thanks, darling. Now, I have to get back to work. Have a fabulous day!" Then, she turned and left the room.
Brianna turned back to the window. Alexandra is so lucky, she thought. I would love for someone to propose to me during the Christmas season. She sighed. She didn't want to be resentful of Alexandra, but she couldn't help it.
When Brianna had finished her work for the day, she put on her coat and gathered her belongings. She tucked her long, dark hair into a hat just before she walked out into the cold. As she strolled down the street, light snowflakes began to fall. On her way home, Brianna saw several couples walking hand in hand. She averted her eyes and quickened her pace. Seeing couples made her feel sad, and she wished that she had someone by her side.
At last Brianna made her way home, and she flopped down on the couch. She turned on the TV and finally settled on a rerun of one of her favorite shows. After a while, some commercials came on, and one was showing a couple. They were standing in a living room full of Christmas decorations, and the man was giving a smiling woman a diamond bracelet. The woman threw her arms around the man, and they kissed. Brianna sighed and stared at the floor. I would give anything to be the woman in that commercial, she thought as a tear rolled down her face. If only I had somebody here with me at Christmas time. She turned off the TV and crawled into her bed, hugging her pillow close to her.
From where she was laying, she could see the night sky out her window. Brianna closed her eyes and lay still. "All I want for Christmas is love," she whispered in the darkness. "That's my only wish this year."
The next morning, Brianna got ready for work and began the walk to her building. The wind was blowing and icy snowflakes stung Brianna's cheeks. Another gust of wind blew, and before she knew what had happened, her feet flew out from under her and she landed hard on the ground, her hat slipping down over her eyes. Before she could move, she felt someone grab her arm and gently pull her up.
"Are you alright?" a voice asked. "I guess you didn't see that patch of ice."
Brianna adjusted her hat and turned around. Standing before her was a young, dark haired guy. He was very cute, and Brianna could feel the blood rushing to her cheeks.
"I'm alright," she finally managed to say. "Thank you for helping me up."
"Not a problem," the guy replied. He smiled and asked, "What's your name?"
"Brianna," she replied.
"Well Brianna, how about I walk you to wherever you're going?" he offered, holding out his arm.
Although a bit taken aback, Brianna put her arm in his. "Thank you again for doing this. You're very kind. But are you sure I'm not inconveniencing you?"
"Not at all. I would never mind escorting such a beautiful woman."
Brianna's heart skipped a beat, and she felt herself blushing again.
The guy continued. "You have to watch out for that ice anyway. It gets covered in snow and you can't see it."
Brianna nodded. "I'll have to watch my step more carefully from now on."
By then, they had arrived at her workplace. "I'm right here," Brianna said, gesturing to the building. "Thanks for walking with me."
"My pleasure. Just be careful on your way home." He smiled and turned to leave.
"Wait!" Brianna called out. "Who are you? I never got your name."
"Me? I'm your Christmas angel," he replied, a grin on his face.
Before Brianna could say anything, he disappeared into the crowd.
Brianna walked up to her office, thinking of the cute stranger. She realized it was the first time in months that someone had touched her. She heard laughing in the hallway and saw Alexandra and John walk by. She shut her door and got to work, trying not to think about the cute stranger that had helped her.
Later that day, Brianna was interrupted by a knock on her door. Alexandra stuck her head in the room, flashing a bright smile. "Brianna darling, there's a delivery for you!" she chirped. She stepped into the room, holding a bouquet of flowers.
"That's for me?" Brianna asked, astonished.
Alexandra nodded. "Looks like you've got an admirer." She handed Brianna the bouquet and walked out of the room. Brianna stared at the six white roses in her hand. There was a card stuck in the middle of them. She pulled it out, and the card read, "Brianna, I was wondering if you would care to join me at the café down the block when you get off work. – Your Christmas Angel."
Brianna's heart started to race, and she wondered, is this really from that stranger who helped me?
"That's impossible," she whispered aloud. "He doesn't even know me."
After thinking about it for a few minutes, she decided she couldn't pass up the opportunity. She was curious.
When Brianna got off work, she looked at her watch. The stranger hadn't told her a specific time, but she headed to the popular café down the street. She stepped inside and shook the snow from her hair. Looking around, she spotted the cute stranger sitting in a booth. He smiled and waved her over. Brianna walked over and sat across from him.
"Thank you for the flowers. That was sweet of you," she told him.
"I'm glad you could come," he replied.
Brianna nodded, and then frowned, a puzzled expression on her face. "Who are you? And what's your name? Why did you ask me to come here when you don't even know me? How come -"
"Whoa!" he laughed. "Give a guy a chance to explain."
Brianna was silent.
"I caught sight of you on my way to work this morning, and I thought you were beautiful. When you slipped and fell, that gave me a chance to talk to you. After I did, I wanted to get to know you better," he explained, smiling.
Brianna couldn't help but blush. Was this adorable stranger really interested in her? She looked up at him. "How did you know that I wasn't already in a relationship with someone?"
Her question seemed to catch him off guard.
"Well," he began, "I didn't see a ring on your finger, and I decided that if you were taken, you wouldn't have shown up."
Brianna nodded. His explanation made sense, but she still thought it was weird that he had taken so much interest in her.
"What's your name?" she asked.
"Kevin." Then he grinned. "Want to go ice skating?"
Brianna was surprised by his spontaneity, but she decided she might as well have fun. "Okay," she replied, smiling. She got up and put her scarf and her hat back on, and Kevin followed her out. He surprised her by placing his arm around her shoulders as they walked. Brianna felt chills run up and down her body as she felt his touch.
Kevin smiled at her. "So, what are your plans for Christmas?"
"Um, I'm not sure yet," Brianna lied. She didn't want to tell him she would be by herself.
"I don't know what I'm doing either," Kevin said. "My brother might come to visit me if he can get off work."
"That sounds nice. What about the rest of your family?"
"My sister just got married, so she'll be with her husband. My mom and dad live all the way in Washington, so it's hard for them to come for Christmas. What about your family?"
Brianna looked at the ground. "I don't really want to talk about it."
"Oh," Kevin replied. He was silent for a minute, and then they arrived at the pond. Brianna followed Kevin over to the rental building to get skates. When they sat down to put them on, Kevin turned to her and smiled sheepishly. "I'm not too good at this," he confessed.
Brianna laughed. "Then why did you bring me?"
Kevin shrugged. "It's fun, even if you're falling down the whole time." He got up and took Brianna's hand. They stepped onto the ice and slowly began to skate around the pond. Brianna smiled, still not believing what was happening. She used to be jealous of all the other couples skating together, but now she had someone by her side.
They circled the pond a few times, and then Kevin skated over to the edge.
"I'm going to take a break. This is hard work for me."
Brianna laughed. "Poor thing. I'm going to go for a few more laps." She turned and began to glide across the ice. She drifted toward the middle, and then picked up speed. Lifting her arms over her head, she went into a spin. It was one of her favorite things to do. Then she gracefully lifted one leg into the air, gliding with perfect form. After a few more spins and weaving some figure eights into the ice, she skated back to the edge of the pond where Kevin was standing, staring at her.
"I didn't know you could do that!" he exclaimed as she got closer. "That's amazing!"
Brianna smiled and took his arm, pulling him back onto the ice. "It's not a big deal."
"Yes it is. You should enter a competition or something."
Brianna shook her head. "I'd be too scared."
"You're crazy. I think you'd be great."
"Thanks," Brianna replied, blushing. They skated for a while, and then decided that they were finished for the day. As they turned in their skates, Brianna shivered.
"Cold?" Kevin asked.
"Yeah, a little."
"A little? I can see you shivering." He pulled her over to him and wrapped his arms around her, trying to warm her up.
Brianna smiled. It felt so good to be held. She rested her head on his chest, not wanting him to let go. Kevin rubbed her back, and then slowly took his arms from around her. "Better?"
He smiled. "How about I take you back to the café for some hot chocolate?"
"That would be great."
Brianna walked back with him, and when they got there, Kevin opened the door for her and took her coat. They ordered some hot chocolate, and then sat in the booth where they were before.
Brianna studied Kevin's face, still unsure of what his intentions were.
"Why are you doing all this?" she asked suddenly.
Kevin smiled. "You really can't believe that I saw a cute girl and wanted to get to know her better? You certainly are suspicious."
Brianna took a sip of her hot chocolate and nodded. "I guess I should believe you."
She sat with Kevin for another half hour. She was glad to have the company. When it was time for her to leave, Kevin offered to walk her home. As they approached her apartment, she thanked him for sending the flowers and taking her out.
"It's definitely the most spontaneous date I've ever been on," Brianna joked, "but it was fun."
"I'm glad you thought so. Do you think you could consider going out with me again?" Kevin asked.
"I think I could do that," Brianna replied, smiling.
"Alright then. I'll see you soon." Before he turned to leave, Kevin bent down and gently kissed her hand. "Bye Brianna."
After he had gone, Brianna went into her apartment and flopped down on her couch. She smiled, thinking about Kevin. She couldn't believe that such a cute and sweet guy had taken an interest in her. And it was the most fun day she'd had in a long time. But what she loved the most was being held. She longed to be able to put her arms around someone and feel them close to her, and she had come pretty close to it today. She hadn't felt someone care for her in such a long time.
As Brianna went to sleep that night, she didn't think of all the other people in love, and she didn't wonder why she didn't have anyone. For the first time in a long time, Brianna went to sleep smiling.
The next day at work, Brianna couldn't stop touching the soft petals on her white roses. She had left them at her desk from the day before, and now they reminded her of the time she had spent with Kevin.
When Brianna left work to go home at the end of the day, she was surprised to see Kevin waiting for her outside.
"Hey you!" he said, a grin on his face. He held out his hand, and Brianna gladly took it. "If you're not busy," he continued, "I'd like to take you to the park."
"I'm not busy," Brianna replied, smiling up at him.
They walked to the park, which was decorated for the upcoming holiday. Brianna usually never set foot in the park, because there were always couples walking together. But now she wasn't alone.
After they had walked a bit, Brianna was looking at the big Christmas tree that had been put up in the middle of the park. She had her back turned to Kevin, and all at once, a snowball hit her arm. She spun around and saw Kevin laughing, so she bent down and scooped up some snow. She threw the snowball and hit him square in the chest. Kevin threw another snowball towards her, and she darted out of the way. "You missed!" she taunted.
"Oh yeah? Well I won't miss this time," Kevin said, scooping up more snow. Brianna ran behind a tree to take cover, and soon she and Kevin were in the midst of a snowball war. Brianna was laughing as she poked her head from behind the tree and threw snowballs. It was the most fun she'd had in a long time.
The snowball fight went on for a few more minutes, and then one of the snowballs Kevin threw hit Brianna right in the face. She had barely wiped the snow from her eyes when Kevin came running over to her, a concerned expression on his face. "Are you alright?" he asked.
Brianna laughed. "I'm fine. My face is just really cold now."
Kevin breathed a sigh of relief. "I'm glad you're okay. I didn't mean to hit you."
"That's kind of the point of a snowball fight though, isn't it?"
Kevin smiled. "You're right." Then he reached up and brushed some of the snow off Brianna's cheek. His touch was gentle, and for a moment, they just stared into each other's eyes. Then Kevin took Brianna's hand. "Come with me."
He led her over to one of the covered gazebos in the park, standing with her near the center. He softly touched her hair, and then whispered, "Look up."
Brianna raised her eyes to the ceiling and saw that they were standing directly under a sprig of mistletoe. She looked back at Kevin, and then closed her eyes as he leaned in to kiss her. As he pressed his lips on hers, they felt warm and soft, and Brianna moved closer to him. She felt Kevin gently place his hand on her back.
When Brianna opened her eyes, Kevin gazed back at her. "Now you can say you've been kissed under the mistletoe," he said.
Brianna smiled. She wanted to be close to him again, so she put her arms around his waist and rested her head against his chest. In turn, Kevin hugged her back. "What do you want to do now?" he whispered in her ear.
"Stay just like this," Brianna whispered back. As she realized what she had said, she blushed.
"I have an idea," Kevin said, smiling down at her. He let go of Brianna, and then took her hand. She walked with him to one of the park benches. Kevin sat down and motioned for Brianna to join him. She did, and Kevin put his arm around her, pulling her close.
"I have to keep you warm if we're going to sit here for a while," he said.
Brianna smiled and put her head on his shoulder. She was so happy to be in someone's arms, feeling the heat of someone else's body against her own.
She sat there with Kevin for a long time, talking to him and getting to know him. At one point, he switched the conversation to her.
"We've talked enough about me," he remarked. "What about you?"
"There's not much to tell."
Kevin smiled. "I'm sure there is. But you never seem to want to talk about you. Why is that?"
"You're very mysterious," he said. Then his voice got softer. "Why don't you want to talk about your family?"
Brianna lifted her head from his shoulder. "I just don't."
Kevin waited for her to say something else, but she didn't. She just stared off in another direction.
"Brianna? I'm sorry if I upset you," he apologized.
She turned around to look at him. "It's not your fault," she sighed. "I don't tell people because it really doesn't matter."
"I'm sure it does. You can tell me," Kevin persisted. "I want to get to know you."
"Fine then. If you must know, I was put up for adoption. I lived with a few foster families, but I spent most of my life in group homes. I don't have a family. Happy now?"
Kevin seemed uncomfortable. "I'm sorry Brianna. If I had known, I wouldn't have forced you to talk about it."
"It's alright. But don't feel sorry for me. I don't want that."
He nodded. "Okay."
Brianna put her head back on his shoulder. They sat on the bench until it got dark, and then Kevin walked her home.
When they got to her apartment, Brianna hoped that Kevin would kiss her again, and she stepped closer than usual toward him. "Thank you for taking me to the park. Our snowball fight was a lot of fun."
"Maybe we can have another one, and you can hit me in the face for payback," Kevin suggested.
Brianna laughed. "Sounds good."
Kevin smiled, and then he put his arms around Brianna. Just as she had hoped, he leaned forward and kissed her. When he released her, he stepped back onto the street. "See you around."
Brianna seemed to float into her apartment. As she lay in her bed, she couldn't help but think of Kevin and all the affection she had received that day. She closed her eyes and fell asleep thinking about the kiss he had given her under the mistletoe.
The next day after work, Brianna walked outside, but Kevin wasn't there. He must be busy today, she thought. Still, she was disappointed. She had been looking forward to spending time with him.
She went home, but there wasn't much to do. After a while, she went to the pond to skate. Skating made her feel free, and she was much happier on the ice. But as soon as she was done and was walking back home, she realized how much she missed having Kevin around. She wanted to see him again.
When Brianna left work the next day, she immediately looked for Kevin, but he wasn't anywhere to be seen. Even more disappointed now, she began to walk home. All of a sudden, someone grabbed her around her waist and put their hand over her eyes.
Brianna giggled. "Kevin!"
He let go of her and she turned around and gave him a hug. She was happy to see him.
Kevin grinned. "I saw you look for me when you came out. You missed me, didn't you?"
Brianna blushed, and then pretended to act disinterested. "As a matter of fact, I didn't think about you at all," she joked.
"Hey! Now I'm hurt," Kevin replied, pretending to be sad. Then he smiled and held out his hand. "Want to go to the park? We got a foot of snow last night."
"Sure," Brianna said, taking his hand. "Where were you yesterday anyway?"
"I had to work late. But believe me; I wanted to come see you."
"I wanted to see you too," Brianna confessed. She looked up at Kevin, and he leaned down and kissed her on the cheek.
As they arrived at the park, Brianna could see the deep snow covering the ground. "What are we doing?" she asked.
"I don't know yet. I just wanted to spend some time with you."
Brianna nodded and walked along the path with him. After a few seconds, she pointed out some icicles. "Look over there."
Kevin turned, and while he was looking at them, Brianna scooped up some snow in her hand. When Kevin turned back around, she threw the snowball, hitting him right in the face.
"Got you back!"
"You cheated! My back was turned," Kevin complained as he tried to brush the snow from his eyes. "At least I had the decency to do it when you were looking."
"You better run," he warned. "As soon as I get this snow off my face, I'm coming after you."
He lunged toward her and Brianna squealed, darting out of his reach. She ran through the park, but Kevin eventually caught her, grabbing her around the waist and causing her to fall down in the snow. Kevin fell with her, landing right next to her.
Laughing, Brianna looked over at him. He had snow in his hair and all over his clothes. She must have looked the same way, because Kevin reached over and brushed some of the snow from her hair. Moving his hand to her cheek, he leaned over and kissed her. Then he got up and offered Brianna his hand. He pulled her to a standing position, smiling at her. "That was fun, except we're covered in snow now. It's all over you."
"Same with you," Brianna said, shaking out her hair and her scarf. When she looked back at Kevin, she saw him shivering. "Are you cold?"
He nodded. "These clothes aren't the best for playing in the snow."
"Poor Kevin. How about we go back to my apartment and I can make you some hot chocolate?" Brianna offered.
"Sounds great." He took her hand and they began to walk to Brianna's apartment.
When they got there, they brushed off as much snow as they could before they went in. Brianna pulled out her key and opened the door. "You can go sit on the couch. There's a blanket if you want it."
She went into her kitchen and began to make some hot chocolate. Once it was finished, she took it into her living room. Kevin was on the couch, all wrapped up in the blanket. He still looked cold.
Brianna sat next to him and handed him his hot chocolate. "This should warm you up."
Brianna waited until he had taken a few sips of it, and then she laid her head on his shoulder. Kevin smiled at her. "I guess I should share this blanket with you."
He took one end and wrapped it around Brianna. She snuggled close to him, happy that he was here with her.
After a few minutes, Kevin leaned down and took Brianna's face in his hands. He kissed her gently, his touch warm and tender. When she opened her eyes, Kevin smiled, taking one of his hands and brushing her hair from her face. "You're beautiful," he whispered. Brianna closed her eyes again and kissed him back, moving closer to him under the blanket. For what seemed like an hour, they kissed softly and slowly, their fingers intertwined. Brianna couldn't ever remember being happier than she was at this moment. She gazed at Kevin, and then he took her hand and held it up to his lips, kissing each one of her fingertips.
By then it began to get late and Kevin had to leave. Brianna forced herself to get up off the couch. She walked Kevin to the door, and he promised he would be waiting for her tomorrow. He gave her one final kiss goodbye, and then he left.
Brianna walked back into the living room and flopped down on her couch. It was still warm where she and Kevin had been sitting, and she grabbed the blanket and wrapped it around herself. The blanket smelled like Kevin, and Brianna closed her eyes and rested her head against the back of the couch. "My Christmas wish is coming true," she whispered.
The next week that passed by seemed like a dream for Brianna. Everyday after work, Kevin was waiting for her outside. They went skating again, went to the park, and even went for a ride in a horse drawn carriage. Every time Kevin spotted mistletoe hanging over a doorway, he would grab Brianna and pull her under it, kissing her in front of everyone.
When Christmas was only a few days away, Kevin helped her pick out a Christmas tree and put it up in her apartment, and then as he was leaving, he pulled a box from his pocket. Brianna opened it to find an ornament: a red glass ball with her name on it, which she proudly hung up on her tree along with her other ornaments.
By the end of the week, Brianna knew she was falling in love with Kevin. She enjoyed every moment spent with him, and she could hardly wait until work ended and she was able to see him again. She also wasn't upset anymore when she saw romantic commercials on TV and couples walking together, and she didn't crave another person's touch. Now that she was with Kevin, she had all of that.
The day of Christmas Eve, Brianna was in her office, watching the snow fall outside. It was almost time for her to go home, so she decided to go and deliver some papers to Alexandra.
When she opened the blonde woman's door, Alexandra was talking on the phone, as usual. She had her back to Brianna, so Brianna waited at the door, checking over the papers in her hand. She wasn't paying any attention to Alexandra's conversation, until she heard Kevin's name.
Alexandra laughed, twirling the phone cord in her fingers as she talked. "Yes, Kevin's a good friend of mine. Whenever I need a favor, he's always willing to oblige. I actually asked him if he would be a dear and go out with this woman I work with. She's pretty lonely; not married and not in a relationship with anyone, so I thought it would do her some good if she had some company for the holiday season. She's such a darling, so it wasn't much of a stretch to get Kevin to go out with her."
She paused. "How is it working out? Wonderful, if I might say. I've never seen Brianna so happy before."
She listened to something the other person was saying, and then laughed. "Alright. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas also. Goodbye love."
Alexandra put down the phone and turned around. As she saw Brianna in the doorway, she looked startled. "Brianna darling, how long have you been standing there?"
"Long enough," Brianna replied, her voice shaking. "You know Kevin? You – you told him to go out with me?" she asked, disbelieving.
Alexandra looked unsure of what to say.
"How could you?" Brianna continued. "Why would you do that to me?"
"Well, darling," Alexandra began cautiously. "You seemed so lonely and I knew you didn't have a significant other -"
"So you set me up?"
"Yes," Alexandra replied, hesitating. "But you seem like you really care for Kevin."
"I do Alexandra! That's the problem. I've fallen in love with someone who doesn't love me back; someone who didn't even want to go out with me in the first place! When you made your little plan, did you ever think that I might end up getting hurt?"
"But Brianna darling -"
"You've just made things worse!" Brianna yelled. "Don't you ever try and take charge of my life again!" She turned and walked quickly out of Alexandra's office. She was feeling a million emotions at once, but most of all, she felt angry, hurt, and betrayed. She just wanted to go home.
Brianna grabbed her hat and stomped outside. Waiting for her on the sidewalk was Kevin. He grinned as soon as he saw her. "Hey Brianna!"
Brianna looked away. She was so hurt and angry that she didn't even know what to say to him. Kevin stepped toward her and took her hand. "Are you okay?"
Brianna yanked her hand out of his. "No, I'm not okay!" she yelled. "Would you be okay after you found out that someone was only going out with you because another person told them to?"
As soon as she had spoken those words, all the color drained from Kevin's face.
Brianna glared at him. "You're a real jerk, you know that Kevin?" she yelled. "You and Alexandra both." Then she turned to leave.
"Brianna, wait -" Kevin begged.
She whirled around. "How long was this going to go on? Did you and Alexandra even think about where this was going to lead? How long were you going to go out with me before you decided it was time to break it off?" By now, Brianna was starting to cry. "How could you do this to me?"
Kevin stepped toward her to comfort her, but she pushed him away.
"Brianna, just hear me out," he pleaded. "I did go out with you because Alexandra asked me, but I had no idea that I was going to fall for you, especially this fast."
Brianna stood there and didn't say anything.
"I really do care about you," Kevin said softly. "And I'm sorry that you had to find out about this, but can't we just start over?"
Brianna didn't trust him. "Why should I believe you? Our entire relationship was built on a lie. You're nothing but a liar."
"Brianna, please -"
"Stay out of my life! I don't ever want to see you again!" she shouted. Then she turned and ran down the sidewalk.
As soon as Brianna reached her apartment, she flopped down on her bed and burst into tears. The past couple of days she had spent with Kevin were the happiest days she'd had in a long time. Now that she knew he was only going out with her because someone else asked him to, she was crushed. She had actually believed that Kevin was interested in her.
Brianna felt like everyone had just played a big joke on her. As tears streamed down her cheeks, she picked up her pillow and threw it, hitting the Christmas tree Kevin had helped her put up in her living room. "So much for my Christmas wish coming true," she sniffled aloud. Then she lay back down and closed her eyes.
About two hours later, Brianna got out of her bed. She walked over to her tree to pick up the pillow she had thrown, and to see if there was any damage.
Only one ornament had fallen off the tree. As Brianna bent down, she saw it was the one Kevin had given her with her name on it. The ornament was broken into several pieces, well beyond repair. Seeing it lying broken on the floor made Brianna start to cry again. It was as if the broken ornament further signified the end of her relationship with Kevin. Even though it was over, Brianna felt sad that she had broken the ornament. She gathered up the pieces, but she couldn't bear to throw them away. She walked into her bedroom and placed the ruined ornament on the table beside her bed.
Since it was Christmas Eve, Brianna decided to go to church. She got dressed up and tried her best to cover up the fact that she had been crying. Then she set out into the cold.
When she got there and walked in, the entire church was candlelit. Brianna found a seat towards the middle and sat down, hoping she could find peace here. As the service started, Brianna tried to cheer up and get into the Christmas spirit, but it was impossible. All around her she saw families and couples, smiling and happy to be together. She managed to keep her composure throughout the service, but as soon as she got home, she burst into tears again. "This is the worst Christmas I've ever had," she sobbed aloud. She lay down in her bed, and as she looked at the broken pieces of the ornament, she felt her heart had been broken in the same way.
The next morning, Brianna opened her eyes and stared up at the ceiling. Her cheeks were dry with tearstains after crying herself to sleep last night. She realized it was Christmas morning, so she sat up and got out of her bed. She saw the ornament lying there broken, and she remembered everything that had happened yesterday. Sighing, she walked into her living room.
As soon as Brianna saw her Christmas tree, she stopped dead in her tracks. Kevin was sitting in front of it, and he had a big red bow stuck on his shirt.
He got up and smiled at her. "I know that I'm probably not the best Christmas present there is, but -"
His words were cut off as Brianna stepped forward and flung her arms around him. Kevin hugged her back, holding her tightly. When Brianna finally let go of him, her eyes had welled up with tears, and they were spilling over and running down her cheeks.
Kevin gently wiped them away, and then he took her hand and sat her down on her couch.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
"I'm here because I want to spend Christmas with you. And I know you don't have a family, so I didn't want you to spend Christmas by yourself."
He wiped another tear from Brianna's cheek. "I know you told me to stay out of your life, but I couldn't. I care about you Brianna."
Brianna didn't know what to say.
Kevin took her hands, holding them in his. "I'm sorry about what happened, and so is Alexandra. She wanted me to tell you that."
Brianna looked up. "I don't know what I should do Kevin. It hurts that you were just pretending to like me."
"That's where you're wrong. I do like you Brianna. I did the whole time. I wasn't pretending at all."
"But you only went out with me because Alexandra asked you to."
"That's true," Kevin sighed. "But that's not why I kept going out with you. Alexandra never told me to go out with you every single day and kiss you all the time and buy you things. I did that because I wanted to."
"What about everything you said to me? Did you mean that or not?"
"I meant every word. When I told you that you were beautiful, I meant it," he said, smiling. Then he looked straight into her eyes. "Can you forgive me?"
Brianna nodded, but then she started to cry again.
"What is it?" Kevin asked.
"The ornament you gave me – I broke it. I'm sorry," Brianna confessed, sniffling.
Kevin took her into his arms. "That's okay. I can get you another one."
Brianna rested her head against Kevin's chest, overjoyed that he was here. Then she laughed and pulled the bow off his shirt. "Just so you know," she said, "you're the best Christmas present I've ever had."
"Better than this one?" he asked, reaching into his pocket. He handed her a little box with a bow around it.
"That's for me?"
Brianna opened it, and inside was a silver necklace with a heart shaped diamond attached. She looked up at Kevin in disbelief.
"Let me put it on you," he said. He took the necklace out of the box and fastened it around Brianna's neck. "Do you like it?"
"I love it," she replied, smiling up at him. "But I don't have anything for you."
"There's something you can give me right now," Kevin said.
"What?" Brianna asked.
Brianna laughed, and then she leaned forward, wrapping her arms around Kevin. As she kissed him, she realized that her Christmas wish had come true after all.