Hey.

How are you guys? I haven't really been on here in forever...but I've been feeling the urge to write lately and I just popped this story out. Somehow. It's actually pretty true. Well, it's based off of somewhat true events and then extended. It may be a little cliche, but I think those type of stories are great near the Holidays.

Oh, fore-warning, this has a lot to do with Thanksgiving and Christmas...so if you're not ready for those two Holidays, you might not want to read it. Yet.

Oh well. Please review, I'll always accept constructive critism. Or PM me. Whichever.

Thanks!


"Ugh. You do not even understand how much I do not wanna be here right now." I complain, walking behind the food counter and looking at two of my closest friends, "I am so tired." I add in.

Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, our town has a Christmas tree lighting where we light one of the oldest pine trees in our towns. It conveniently is also right in front of the firehouse, where we hold the three hour long festivity.

It's actually a really cute event for younger kids. 'Santa' and 'Mrs. Claus' come to visit on a firetruck, teenagers dress up as Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman, there's a live band that sings Christmas songs, there are horse-drawn sleigh rides, and at the end they finally light the tree. It's also a really nice time for the close-knit families in our town that stay around for Thanksgiving to get into the Christmas spirit.

The day after Thanksgiving also happens to be Black Friday. Black Friday is when my mother and I go shopping at midnight and continue shopping until about 8:00 AM. And I was stupid enough not to sleep today. So basically, I haven't slept in about thirty hours.

I am exhausted.

"You look like crap." My friend Caroline Olive, the daughter of Mrs. Olive who is basically Goddess of all the activities that happen in Stonybrook, says to me, "When was the last time you slept?"

"Wednesday night." I reply, shrugging off my black northface and throwing it into the pile of coats on the chairs, "I feel so crappy right now."

"Why didn't you sleep today?!" My other friend, Kylie Karina, asks. Her and her mom came black Friday shopping with us but she obviously got some sleep in.

"I wasn't tired." I reply, shrugging my shoulders, "But I'm exhausted right now."

"Well Luke came around to look for you earlier. It was before he had to change into his costume…right now he's working as Frosty." Caroline says with a giggle, pointing towards the tall snowman who was currently giving high five's to the little kids.

"Well that's nice." I say, looking down and trying to hide the blush coming to my cheeks, "I'm assuming that Zach is working as Rudolph and that Christian and Anthony are around here somewhere?" I ask, looking around the room for them. I finally spot the two boys goofing off in one of the corners behind a table that's handing out Christmas cookies.

I let out a laugh and Caroline turns towards me, "I'm assuming you see them?" She asks, gesturing towards them. I nod my head and Kylie rolls her eyes.

"They are such idiots." She says, "Like I don't understand why we're friends with them."

"Well you're Luke's neighbor and Christian's his cousin." I say, bumping into her. She laughs and Caroline and I join in.

People come up occasionally to get some hot chocolate, or chili, or soup but mostly Caroline, Kylie, and I have the table to ourselves and we just treat it as another gossip session.

"Did Luke say when he was getting off duty?" I ask, looking at Caroline and Kylie. They both exchange smirks and I roll my eyes, "Oh shut up." I say, glaring at them.

"We didn't even say anything!" They exclaim in unison.

"Well you both exchanged little smirky looks." I say, rolling my eyes, "So when does he get off duty? And do we ever get off duty?"

"Yes, we're done at 6:30. So we only have about forty more minutes of this. And he gets off duty about the time we do." Caroline says. Her mother then comes up to the table and the three of us shut up. Mrs. Olive is really, really cool…but sometimes if she finds out our business, she gets really annoying about.

Especially when she finds out who we like.

"Hi girls." She greets us with a smile. We all smile back and she takes a Styrofoam cup of Hot Chocolate, "How's it going?"

"It's good. Not a lot of people have come up so far, though." I say, gesturing to most of the uneaten food. We haven't even had to do any refills yet.

"Well it's only about 5:45. Most people don't even come until 6:30. I feel bad for your sister and her friends on the later shift, Cari." Mrs. Olive says, glancing over to her younger daughter who was currently hanging outside with her friends.

"That's why we took the earlier shirt, Mrs. O." Kylie says as the three of us exchange smirks.

"Ah, yes." Mrs. Olive responds, "Is that so you can hang out with Lucas, Arabella?" She asks, looking at me with a smirk on her face.

My cheeks grow red and Caroline hits her hand against the table, "Mom!" She exclaims, "You can't just say that in public! What if he was right behind you?!"

"Well I'm not an idiot, babe." Mrs. Olive exclaims. She leans into us and her voice turns into a whisper, "That's just the price you gals will have to pay for talking too loud at sleepovers at the Olive residence."

She then walks away with a wave of her fingers and Caroline turns to me, "I'm so sorry, Ari. My mom's so stupid." She says.

I laugh, "It's fine." I reply. Caroline gives me a doubtful look and I laugh again, "Really. It's not like I don't get teased –you and Ky do it to me all the time. Along with every other single one of our friends."

"We do it because we loveee you." Kylie sing-songs out, popping a donut that she stole from the table next to ours into her mouth and making Caroline and me laugh.

"Hey guys." Caroline, Kylie, and I turn around at the same time to see all four of the boys there. Zach and Luke are changed out of their costumes but both have sweaty hairlines and flushed faces.

"Hey."

"Hi."

"Uh…hey." Caroline, Kylie, and I say, flashing them all smiles, "I thought you guys still had to be Frosty and Rudolph for another half an hour." I say, looking between Zach and Luke.

"Nahhh, we got off at six." Zach says, "Thank God. Those costumes we're about 1000 degrees." He adds in, wiping some sweat off his forehead.

I scrunch my face up in disgust and Luke turns to me, "When do you guys get done?" He asks.

"At 6:30." I respond, praying to God that my face doesn't turn red. It's so stupid. I've known Luke since I was in 1st grade and now that I have a small crush on him and I start acting like an idiot.

"Cool." He responds, "We'll be somewhere."

"How are we going to find you?" Caroline asks, placing her hand on her hip and looking at her Luke, "Your phone got taken away."

"Oh yah…um…can I take your phone, Ari?" He asks, looking at me with a hopeful smile.

I shake my head, "Um no. I do not trust you with my iPhone. Sorry bud." I say, smirking at him. His hopeful smile turns into a childish frown and he begins to whine. Caroline, Kylie, and I try to tell him that we can text one of the other boys but before our eyes Luke grabs the phone from my front pocket and the four boys run away.

I'm about to chase after them, but Mrs. Olive calls me back. She says that we need to refill everything and then we can switch with the little girls.

"Guys," I say, looking at Caroline and Kylie with a terrified expression on my face.

"What's wrong Ari?" Caroline asks, "You look like you're going to be sick."

"You don't think that Luke will look through my texts…right?" I ask, a tone of uncertainty coming over my voice.

Caroline just shakes her head but Kylie begins to realize it too, "The conversation we had today about you liking him. You didn't delete it?"

I shake my head.

"Shit. Well let's get this done." Kylie says as we begin to work in high speed.

We get everything done about ten minutes later and we quickly put on our coats and run through the crowd of people, searching for the group of four freshman boys.

"Where are they?!" I exclaim, turning in a circle. The place is quite small, but pretty crowded. We're assuming that they're outside because we didn't spot them inside the small indoor space and outside, they could basically be anywhere.

"Should I text one of them?" Caroline asks, pulling out her phone. I nod my head and she types out a text to Christian, "They're by the sleighride line." She says, looking up at us.

"Let's go." Kylie says, leading the way, "I doubt he read them, Ari." She adds in as we draw closer to the line. I finally spot the boys who are hanging out by a couple of trees with no one really around. The tree that is going to be lite is about twenty feet away and the firehouse where all the indoor activities are is probably about forty.

"Heyyy." Christian says as he spots us coming over. The three of us wave and join in their circle. I end up standing across from Luke and I hold out my hand flat.

"Can I have my phone back?" I ask, looking up at him. He smirks down at me and places my iPhone back into my hand.

"I'm sure you missed it terribly." He says with a teasing in his voice. I laugh and nod my head.

"And I'm being completely serious, too." I add in. The group begins to laugh and then Caroline brings up the suggestion of going on the sleigh ride.

We all agree. Waiting in the line usually takes about twenty minutes and then the ride itself is another fifteen, so by the time we were done the tree would be about ready to be lite.

"I call sitting next to Ari!" Luke shouts out as we take our places in line. I stand next to him and he bumps into me playfully. I playfully bump back into him and he smiles down at me.

"You're a weirdo." I say, rolling my eyes at him. He just smiles down at me again and then we turn back towards the group.

The wait goes by fast and we're in the "Sleigh" before we know it. I do end up sitting next to Luke and Caroline sits on my other side. Christian sits next to her and then Kylie sits across from me with Zach and Anthony on either side of her.

We sing Christmas carols at the top of our lungs, laugh, sing some more, and completely annoy the people who are in the "Sleigh" with us by the time the ride is over.

"My mom just texted me, guys." Caroline says, responding to a text and then turning back to us, "They're lighting the tree in fifteen minutes and she says that we should hurry up if we wanna get good spots."

"Well then let's hurry up." Anthony says, running ahead of us. By the time we finally catch up to him we're near the base of the tree where a huge crowd of people has already gathered.

"I love it when they light the tree." I say to Luke, who ended up standing next to me. He nods his head, agreeing with me.

"It's so cool that this one thing basically brings most of the town together." He says, gesturing around. I also look around and it's really true. There are all sorts of people here and it's all for one thing –the beginning of the countdown to Christmas.

"So do you still think I'm a weirdo?" He asks. I shrug my shoulders and look up towards him (He really isn't that much taller than me. I'm about 5'7 and he's almost 6'1), "Well I don't think you're a weirdo."

"Aw, gee. Thanks." I say, laughing.

"I really don't though. I'm being serious."

The crowd begins to tighten up so they can fit everyone and I get pushed quite closely to Luke. Caroline and Kylie are in front of us along with everyone else and they all look back every so often. Caroline gives me a wink and I roll me eyes.

The back of our hands are touching and all I really want to do is grab his hand, but I control myself. He'd think I was a freak…if he doesn't think that already from the texts he read.

"Did you by any chance read my texts?" I ask, looking into his chocolate brown eyes so that I can make sure he isn't lying to me. He shakes his head, "Really?"

In the distance I can vaguely hear the 'One minute left!' mark being called out but I continue looking at Luke.

"No. Why?" He asks, looking at me with a curious glance. He then tries to make a grab for my phone but I stuff it into my back pocket.

"No reason." I say quickly. Almost a little too quickly.

Ten

"I don't believe you, Ari."

Nine

"Well you should."

Eight

"I know. You've never given me any chance to not believe you before."

Seven

"So then why don't you believe me now?"

Six

"Because I know something that you don't know."

Five

"How do you know I don't know it?"

Four

"Because if you knew it, Ari, we'd both know it. Everyone would know it."

Three

"Are you gonna tell me?"

Two

"I might."

One

"I dare you."

LIGHT THE TREE!

And he kissed me.

At least, I think he did.

It happened so fast, everything did.

The tree got lite, the boy I like kissed me, and everyone started clapping and cheering. Especially Caroline and Kylie.

Luke smiles a goofy grin at me and then I know for sure that he really did kiss me.

The crowd around us finally begins to disperse and the group of my friends and I all head to a spot outside of the firehouse where no one really is.

They leave Luke and I to ourselves and the five of them go into a conversation about five feet away from us.

"How'd you know?" I ask, looking towards him, "I mean, if you didn't read my texts?"

"Do you want the truth?" He asks, looking into my eyes. I nod my head, "Promise you won't get mad…but Kylie told me."

"What?!" I exclaim, glaring at Kylie. I'm about to run over there and pounce but Luke grabs my hand to pull me back.

"It worked out for the better. Didn't it?" She asks, coming over to us with a smile on her face, "I mean c'mon. If I didn't tell him, would anything really have happened?"

I open my mouth to answer her but then I shut it. Honestly, Kylie's right at this point. I'm just going to let her have this time to shine.

"Well do I get a thank you?" She asks, looking at Luke and I with her hands on her hips.

Luke looks down at me and I smirk back up at him. He places his arm around my waist and I lean into him, "Thanks Ky." We both say at the same time, smiling at the girl in front of us.

"No problamo." She says, clapping her hands together, "Now let's go tell your Mrs. Olive the news, I'm sure she'll be ecstatic!"