A/N: Wow. I felt like I haven't written my own original fiction in SO long. Too focused on those gossip girl fan fics, haha. But nonetheless, I'm feeling a very inspiring turn to write this story. I am writing this with my bff, Kira, and I really do hope you enjoy it because we both have many plans for it and it should be great. =) Please review.

We own nothing but our own imaginations. ;p

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Ch.1-Wintry Beginnings

She sat, gazing out the window as the snow fell. It looked like a piece of Heaven had fallen down and surrounded her. In her mind, she knew it could be no such thing, but appearances can sometimes be deceiving. She pressed her hands up against the clear glass, instantly feeling the cool air invading her fingertips. The coolness was enough to clear her mind of all the doubts she'd been stealing, and she took a deep breath.

Although the beginning of this Christmas vacation seemed to be unraveling itself rather well, it could not erase the images of last year's horrendous family brawl. It had all started out so innocently, and she feared that it might be the same this time. All the same people were invited to the Christmas dinner. Plus, it just happened to be tomorrow. Her family had never been one known for being prepared, and it appeared the same this year as the boxes of decorations still sat at the far corner of the garage, waiting to be opened. She muttered to herself about it for a few moments, and then her brother barged through the doorway.

She turned her head slowly to watch him as he bounded for the closed fridge door, no doubt to steal himself a snack only an hour before dinner.

"There's nothing in there," she said, "You should know that by now."

He paused in his rampant searching, and turned to look at her, a glare present across his worn face, "Are you sure?" he asked, pulling out a cheese stick and dangling it out for her to see.

She looked away, dismissively. "You know that's not real."

He ignored her, ripping the plastic off and placing his mouth over the top in a solid bite. It was rock hard.

At that moment, their parents walked in. The siblings instantly focused their attention on the two considerably taller individuals. Justin quickly placed the hardened cheese in a rush behind his back, before his mother's suspecting eye drifted towards his direction. Claire smirked to herself as she saw Justin surreptitiously check his wounded teeth with his tongue.

Mrs. Kappelen's brow furrowed as she noticed her son's eyes begin to well up with tears, "Justin, dear, is everything all right?" she asked, stepping towards him.

"Oh, sure, just bit my tongue mother."

Mr. Kappelen shook his head, placing the newly boughten groceries on the kitchen table to his left. "Remind me again, who does that boy belong to?"

His wife glanced at him, and then sighed in frustration.

"Well…I just….I gotta—"

"Go!" Claire waved off her brother, barely noticing when he tripped over a small box in the hallway on the way towards his room.

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"So what can I help with?" she asked, calmly.

A few cans were handed over to her to put away, as Mr. Kappelen leaned down to kiss his daughter on the cheek. "So nice having you home for the holidays."

"Oh me too," she said, "It wouldn't be the same without you guys."

Her mother smiled softly at that remark, taking the few cans her daughter had in her hands to put away, "Todd called for you today, on MY cell phone strangely enough."

"Who's Todd?" a voice questioned sharply, and her brother walked back into the room.

Claire's facial expression fell into a frown at the unwanted presence in the room. "Nobody!" she snapped, pushing against his chest hard, before making her way around him.

"I'll tell Chris," he threatened, and she stopped in her tracks.

She turned hard on her heel and began to make her way towards him, an evil glare present in his direction. "And what EXACTLY would you be telling Chris, JUS-TIN?" she asked, emphasizing the syllables of his name.

"Only the truth," he said, standing his ground and looking firmly in her eyes.

"Which would be what?" she asked, placing a hand on her propped out hip.

"Why don't you tell me?" he countered stubbornly.

The tension was building, and both parents turned and looked at each other worriedly.

"I don't have to tell you ANYTHING," she spat, turning away from him and heading towards her room. This time he said nothing.

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Claire lay on her bed in her room, just listening to some music, trying to stop thinking about the events of that evening. Everything around her seemed so dark and distant now. In her mind she began to mull over the events of Christmas two years ago once again. That was the first time she met Chris.

~*~*~*~

The snow fell, angelically as ever as the college freshman made her way home from the downtown bookstore. As always, she had an arm full of books. Actually, two armfulls. The wind was getting stronger and the ice that had developed from the morning storm was not making it any easier to speed to her destination without slipping. Yet she could not afford to lose speed, because she needed to be home for the special Christmas dinner. The entire extended family would be in town this year, and if she didn't get home soon there would be no evidence of any Christmas preparations, mentally or otherwise. It seemed that she was always the one to put the finishing touches on preparations, and everyone was always looking to her to make sure all was as it should be. This year would be no different, even if the guest list had increased from four to fourty. She would still get it all together, and she would do it well.

Her mind jerked back to the present, as she slipped on a bit of ice and nearly crashed to the ground. Had it not been for the young man merely turning the corner, she would've been sore and limping for the rest of her journey. He managed to deftly catch her by one arm and steady her.

"Oh, thank-you," she said, breathing sharply. "Hel-lo!" she exclaimed taking in his appearance. Because how often was it that your rescuer also looked the part of Prince Charming?

He glanced away briefly. "Hello," he mumbled uncertainly.

She blinked, suddenly aware of how blunt she was being. Clearing her throat, she extended her hand to him. "I'm sorry," she said quickly. "My name is Claire. Claire Kappelen."

He cleared his throat uncomfortably. "Chris. Chris Vardos," he said, shaking her hand quickly.

~*~*~*~

A knock on the door interrupted her daydream.

Sitting up, she called, "Hello, who is it?"

"Time for dinner," her brother answered gruffly. And she could tell by the pitter patter of his feet, that he had not stayed for long.

Her bed responded with some rather loud creaking, as she jumped down from it, regretting descending from such a height.

"Claire!" she heard her mother call from the kitchen.

She stifled an indignant reply and hurried out of her room.

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A/N: I hope you like it so far. Please Review.