There's Something about That Christmas Magic
"It's cold in this town
And there's snow on the ground
Far from home
But not alone..."
-'Alone This Holiday' by The Used
Thick snow fell all around, covering the streets and sidewalks in a vast white blanket, reaching from one end of the horizon to the other. The skies were gray and a sweeping chill settled its way into the one sleepy town particular to this story.
It all started less than two weeks before Christmas on December 14th. At the early hour of five, the town was barely even awake. Only one unfamiliar figure could be found trudging through the snow so early.
A college student by the name of Aiden, currently in town to visit relatives, had been wandering hopelessly around in search of a coffeehouse. And, upon turning the corner, found exactly what he was looking for.
The local Starbucks seemed just as sleepy as the rest of the town, with only two employees and about as many customers inside. The windows were fogged up by the humidity, but from what Aiden could tell, the place was elaborately decorated for the holidays. Holly berries and strands of green garland were strewn around the little shop, as well as advertisements for their special holiday blends. And the strong coffee aroma wafting from the building was too irresistible to ignore.
Aiden pushed open the door, the little bells jingling in way of announcing his arrival, and smiled to himself as the heat from the building rushed to warm up his frozen limbs.
The somewhat clueless Aiden then ordered his usual coffee and settled himself down at a table by the window, not knowing that the people he would run into today would ultimately change his life forever.
I woke to the sound of a blaring alarm clock no less than a foot from my ear. It's shrill, insistent noise effectively put me into an irritable mood and I violently slammed the palm of my hand against the clock in hopes that it hit the snooze button.
But, exactly five minutes later, the alarm went off again. I rolled over, considerably more awake now, and slowly clambered out of bed.
"Damn alarm clocks… why do they always work so well?" I grumbled to no one in particular while moving across the room to hit the light switch.
As soon as the objects in the room were visible, I began my daily routine of brushing teeth, combing hair, and applying just a touch of makeup. Next I pulled on a pair of faded blue jeans and a soft gray sweater. Then, shoving my feet into a pair of boots, I grabbed my coat from its hook and threw on a scarf.
"Hey, aren't you supposed to be gone already?" I heart the faint shouting of my roommate coming from down the hallway and sighed loudly.
The door opened and there stood my half-asleep roommate, running one hand through her mused up hair and stifling an oncoming yawn with the other. Blinking her sleepy eyes, she gave me a curious look before shaking her head.
"I don't know how you manage to get up so early just to get coffee."
"Aren't you up this early too, Grey?"
"Yeah, but that's because your alarm wakes me up. It's not my choice or anything."
"Of course it isn't."
"Well, at least I get free coffee out of this deal."
"You keep telling yourself that. Now, did you see where I put my purse yesterday?"
My roommate nods and points in the direction of the small living room of our shared apartment.
"Uh huh, you left it on the couch last night."
I headed for the abandoned purse when I heard my roommate shout out at my retreating back.
"I will!" I shouted back before stepping out of the apartment and into the cold winter air. As the chill began to seep into my bones, I couldn't help but admire the breathtaking sight: evidently it had snowed last night, for the entire town was covered a food deep in this vast whiteness. And at such an early hour of the morning, the snow still lay untouched by the usual bustling crowds on the sidewalks.
There was a sort of peace in the early hours of the morning that I just couldn't get at any other time. After all, it was the only reason I got up at 5:30 on school mornings. It was somewhat of a habit to get coffee and spend a few hours in peaceful solitude, either chatting with some of the familiar people at Starbucks or getting caught up on work before classes started. Whatever it was each time, it was the one thing that I looked forward to and the one thing that got me through the rest of the day.
Once out of the apartment and on the way towards Starbucks, the cold of the
winter morning finally settled in and I began to lose feeling in my fingers and toes. My breath now formed small clouds of hot air whenever I exhaled, and the tips of my ears and nose were most likely tinged a bothered pink.
But no matter the weather, I continued on, merely tugging my scarf closer around my neck and folding my arms tightly across my chest. For the most part, I kept my gaze downward, idly watching the snow crunch beneath my boots, and avoiding whatever few people may be on the sidewalk with me. My eyes never left my feet until the entrance to Starbucks was in sight. Then I eagerly pushed the door open and fully welcomed the heat of the building with a sigh of relief.
"Well, if it isn't my favorite customer! You're a little on the late side this morning, aren't you?"
I let out a small laugh before sending the man at the counter a big grin.
"Did you know there's this thing called a snooze button on an alarm clock? Apparently what it does is it turns off the alarm but only for like five minutes and then the alarm goes off again! Truly, it's the greatest invention of mankind!"
The man at the counter, better known as Dave, just laughed appreciatively.
"It's great to see you Jade. I really wish you'd take up a job here; Lord knows you're here all the time anyway."
Making my way up to the counter, I couldn't help but smile and blush a little. Dave was probably in his sixties but acted like he was still 20. His smile and laugh were charismatic, and he was the kind of person you could carry on a conversation with for hours and never get bored of it. He also genuinely cared about what was going on in your life too.
"I really couldn't. Besides, I already have a job." I mused, gazing around at all the decorations.
"So, are you up for the usual order, then?"
"Yeah, I think so. And throw in an order for Grey. She sends her love as well."
"Will do. How is Grey doing, by the way?"
"Oh, she's fine. She can't wait until classes finish up. Can you believe that they're holding us in this long? Thank goodness there's only two more days of classes left!"
"And then you have to get all of your holiday shopping done, isn't that right?"
I let out a groan before smiling at Dave.
"Don't remind me of that yet! I'll start feeling guilty about it!"
"Christmas is in less than two weeks."
Dave busied himself around the kitchen with my coffee order and I took the time to look around the shop. One other employee by the name of Martha was sitting at a corner table doing what looked like paperwork and completely blowing off the fact that other work (such as making coffee) needed to be done. In another corner sat Mr. Rodgers, a grouchy old man that came in every morning sipping his almond latte with a sinister look about his features. The only reason he probably came in this early was to avoid the mid-morning coffee rush that usually took place. The other customers' faces were familiar too – the early morning coffee crowd usually didn't change much.
But then, sitting all alone by the window was a guy I'd never seen before in my life. He sat there with his head bowed, dark locks falling into his face and casting shadows across his strong cheekbones. He was dressed in jeans and a black t-shirt, and I could see a coat slung over the back of his chair. The only thing I couldn't make out was the color of his eyes, as they were still covered by his hair.
Then, as if on cue, he let out a sigh, shifted around in his chair and flicked his hair out of his eyes. A pair of crystalline blue eyes was revealed and I couldn't help but blush just a little. My heart skipped a beat. He was gorgeous. But who was he?
"Hey Dave, who's that guy sitting by the window? I've never seen him here before…" I whispered, wrenching my gaze off the guy and turning back around to face the counter. Dave gave me a suspicious look before an all-knowing smile set into his expression.
"I've never seen him before either. He's only been here for about 10 minutes, but when he first arrived, I chatted with him for a while and found out some information. His name's Aiden, he's almost 24, and he's here visiting some relatives."
"Oh, you're good."
"What can I say? I know you'd ask me about him." I frowned, a little perturbed by the knowing expression on Dave's weathered face.
"And what do you mean by that?" He flashed me a grin before handing me two cups of coffee.
"Oh, you'll figure it out sooner or later. Here's your coffee. And let's hope Grey's order stays hot until she can get here."
"Alright, thanks!" I accepted the two steaming coffees, paid for them, and then made my way over to the condiments table to grab a few napkins. But when I turned around, I knocked straight into someone, sending one of the coffees in my hands straight down to the floor. I let out a gasp of surprise, jumping away from the steaming puddle of coffee on the floor. Looking up at the person I had knocked into, I was met with a pair of brilliant blue eyes.
It was Aiden.
"Oh my god, are you okay? I'm so sorry!" he exclaimed, bending down to pick up the empty coffee cup and throw it away, along with another coffee cup that had been in his hand.
His voice was deep and… might I say sexy? Yeah, I probably should, for it sent shivers down my spine that had nothing to do with the cold weather outside. I found myself staring into those intense blue eyes and wishing that I could have someone like him.
"It's okay, I'm fine. Don't' worry about it. At least it was only one of the coffees."
"No, seriously, I am so sorry. I didn't even see you there! Can I get you another coffee?"
"Nonsense," I heard Dave say from behind me and I let out a sigh of relief, "I'll just make her another one."
"That would be great Dave, thanks." I said before turning back to Aiden. "Don't feel bad, okay? It was an accident. At least I didn't get it all over me."
He smiled sheepishly.
"Yeah, I guess."
And as I walked back over to the counter, I heard Dave call over to Martha to mop up the mess. Se got up from the corner begrudgingly and cleaned the mess as Dave handed me a new cup of coffee. I thanked him once more and walked over to a table. A few more people walked into Starbucks and I figured the mid-morning rush was almost upon us.
When I finally reached an empty table and sat down, I chanced a small peek at Aiden again, only to find those blue eyes focused directly onto me, a burning glance that I didn't have the strength to return. I quickly darted my eyes away and brought them down onto the book I had brought with me to read. A deep blush crept up my cheeks as I tried to focus on my book. I had been caught, and I hated that.
So if I hated it so much, why wasn't I angrier?
And why was I blushing instead?
It wasn't fair, really, that such a perfect guy would show up so close to Christmas. I didn't deserve any more torture than I was already receiving. Christmas alone without any family because they didn't want me there anymore was depressing enough, but stupid fate had to keep rubbing it in by flaunting some gorgeous guy in front of me to remind me of my recent breakup, and that I'd be spending Christmas without anyone to love as well.
It was times like these that I really despised the holidays. And that just made me even more depressed; knowing that it will be another lonely holiday, save for my roommate. She and Dave were the only two people who made holidays even somewhat special for me.
Sure, I loved the snow, I loved Christmas carols on the radio, I loved giving and receiving presents, but I would just really love to share it all with a special someone.
About an hour later, the door opened and I was brought back into reality by the jingling of the tiny door bells. My eyes flickered upward towards the door to see who it was. Another one of the usual morning coffee pursuers had just walked in and I gave the woman a faint smile, which she warmly returned before announcing to Dave that her Christmas present had come early.
"I'm going to be a grandmother, Dave!" The woman, by the name of Mrs. Wright, was positively glowing and couldn't keep a smile off her face as she continued on, "My daughter and her husband just came in last night and told me the news!"
As she just gushed the entire story to an enthusiastic Dave, I couldn't help but feel a mix of emotions. I was happy for her, of course, but the news just helped settle my depression in even more.
Was I the only one not having a happy holiday?
"Mrs. Wright, now don't you dare pull out that credit card! News like that deserves some free coffee. It's on me this morning." I distinctly heard Dave's voice over the babble of excitement.
"Did I just hear free coffee?" I looked up and saw Grey standing there, now fully awake and slightly confused as to why there was such a hubbub going on at just seven in the morning.
"Not for you, but for Mrs. Wright. She's going to be a grandmother - just found out last night."
"Aw, how sweet."
"I know. Now come sit down, I already got your coffee for you."
"Oh, well I still have some work I gotta finish that I left back at the apartment. I just came to get coffee. See you A period?"
"Okay, See ya." I watched my friend walk out of Starbucks, now left with no one to talk to or distract myself from staring at this Aiden guy I'd never seen before. It took all my willpower not to look at him, but I succeeded in my task. I just resumed my reading for about half an hour until I had to leave for class.
Gathering my things, I took in one last, deep breath of the coffee aroma to get me through the day. Then, waving goodbye to Dave, I turned to walk out the door and practically ran into someone.
"Oh, sorry! I didn't see you there!" I exclaimed, turning back around only to find myself face-to-face with the same guy I had the uncanny knack for running into today.
He seemed to find the situation funny as well, if the smirk on his face had anything to do with it.
"No, it's not a problem."
I watched as his hand shot out and opened the door for me.
"Thanks," I breathed.
"Anytime. I'm Aiden, by the way."
He returned the smile I had given him. Then, bracing myself against the cold winter air, I turned in the direction of school. I took one, maybe two steps in the powdery snow when someone shouted out at me.
"Wait!" I whirled around to see Aiden standing about two feet away from me. The snow falling down landed on his coat and in his hair, providing a stark contrast of color. It was almost prettier than the snow itself. Those blue eyes were staring down at me and, for a moment, I couldn't even breathe.
Why did he have to be so perfect?
"I just... I'm really sorry about what happened."
"It's fine. Don't worry about it."
"Will I run into you here again tomorrow?"
I paused, shocked to hear such a sentence come from out of someone's mouth. Did this guy really want to meet with me again tomorrow? Was it even possible for him to like someone like me?
"Yeah, that would be cool."
"Well, I'm here every morning at six. I guess I could save you a seat. I said, not having any idea as to where my sudden boldness was coming from. Was I actually flirting with him? Who'd have thought...?
"Oh, good. I guess I'll see you around then?" he questioned. I nodded to him, starting to take a couple of steps backwards down the sidewalk.
"Nice to meet you, Aiden."
"Nice to meet you too, jade." And, as we both went our separate ways, I couldn't help but think that Christmas break didn't look so bad after all.
Whew! You have no idea how stressful this day has been for me! My internet at my house went down just last night, so I've been freaking out about how I could get this up on the internet for you guys! I skipped my lunch period and my study hall to re-type this on the school computer and put it up here! Be nice and leave a review please!
Sorry to those who opened this and found a huge blob of words - the formatting was kinda screwy but I needed to post it first before I could fix it.
For those of you who read this without knowing about this story ahead of time - go read the information in my profile. I'm too tired to re-type everything...
PLEASE REVIEW! It would make my day so much better...