I strolled along the frozen path, staring at the dusting of snow that covered the scene and made it shimmer. My boots left prints of their soles on the ground and disturbed the untouched snow. Flakes drifted lazily down, clinging to my hair and gently kissing the exposed skin of my face. No one else was around, so began to sing my favorite Christmas songs cheerfully as I walked.
"Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? In the lane, snow is glistening. A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight, walking in a winter wonderland."
"Gone away, is the bluebird. Here to stay, is the new bird." A rich male voice chimed in, and I whipped around to see the friendly looking man just a few feet behind me, smirking. "He sings a love song, as we go along, walking in a winter wonderland."
"Hello Aaron." I couldn't believe it. Aaron was my neighbor growing up. We hung out all the time, but I was never really into him like most people expected. I had always wished he was hotter. Well, merry Christmas to me.
"I know that voice anywhere." He grinned, stepping forward and pulling me into a huge bear hug. "How've you been Katie?"
"I'm good. Visiting the parents for Christmas, as always. How are you?"
"I've been good. Can you believe I still live around here?"
"Seriously? That's kind of nice, actually. God, I haven't seen you in so long! You look great!" That last part was a bit too enthusiastic, and I blushed.
"Always so very smooth." Aaron chuckled.
"Hey, at least my nickname wasn't Chipmunk Cheeks!"
"Oh yeah, because Midget is so much better!" I narrowed my eyes, bending down to make a snowball, he scooped up a handful, hurling it at me before I had the chance to react. Shrieking, I balled up the snow and chucked it. He ran at me, tackling my down into the snow.
"Ugh!" I pushed up off the ground. "You are so dead!"
"You have to catch me first!"
"Oh please, we both know I'm twice as fast as you are!" I raced after him, laughing all the way, until I finally caught up and shoved the snow in his face.
"Ah! You got me." He sniffed, wiping the snow from his eyes. "That wasn't fair."
"Oh, don't be a baby Aaron." We walked until we reached a neighborhood.
"Come on inside, you probably want to warm up a little since you fell in the snow."
I rolled my eyes. "Oh yeah, how very thoughtful of you."
Chuckling, he twisted the key in its socket, clicking open the door and gesturing for me to head inside.
"Wow, it's nice in here." I shrugged off my coat, tossing it at him and rubbing my hands together for warmth.
"Thanks." He hung my coat on the rack, sitting his own next to it and heading over to the fireplace. "Take a seat, make yourself at home." A burst of flame lit up the room, simmering to a controlled blaze. It twisted and crackled, filling the space with warmth.
"Eggnog and rum?" He poked his head out from the kitchen, smirking.
"You know me so well!" I called back.
A minute later he emerged, two glasses in hand. I raised a toast.
"To old friends?"
"To old friends." He smiled, clinking my glass.
I stayed for an hour or so, laughing and talking, reminiscing about old times. He had always been such an easy person to talk to.
"Well, I should be going." I stood to go.
"Seriously Katie? You're walking out on me?"
"Aaron, I need to get home! I'm going to get enough of an inquisition when I get home, there's no need to make them suspicious."
"But it's a blizzard out there! There's no way you're walking home, and my car's in the shop."
"That's a lie."
I shook my head. "You're a terrible liar."
"Come on, just wait till it passes."
"You know it won't."
I bit my lip. "My family's going to give me such hell."
"So you'll stay?"
"What part of that sentence gave you the impression I was staying."
He smirked. "You're biting your lip. You bite your lip when you're debating about something. Or when you're nervous."
"It doesn't matter." I blushed. "I can't stay."
"But you'll freeze out there!"
"I'll call someone to pick me up, unless your car is miraculous fixed and suddenly in your garage."
Now it was his turn to blush. "Just one more drink."
"Fine. But just one more!" He laughed, slipping into the kitchen and taking his sweet time. I sat back on the couch until he came back.
"Really, though. I have to go home."
"Nope." He took a sip of his drink.
"Why are you so stubborn?"
"Why are you?"
"If you don't stay, I'm not getting you a Christmas present."
"That's a lie." I smirked.
"Fine, I'll have to sing then."
He raised an eyebrow, pushing the button on his stereo.
"I don't want a lot for Christmas, there is just one thing I need. I don't care about the presents, underneath the Christmas tree. I just want you to stay here, more than you could ever know! Make my wish come true! All I want for Christmas, is you! To stay!"
"That is so not how it goes."
He plopped onto the couch. "Of course it is."
"Ugh!" I leaned my head back onto the cushion, wanting to stay…
"My family will not let me hear the end of this, I hope you know that."
"Yes!" He hugged me again, yanking me off the couch. "Let's dance!"
"You know I can't dance."
He wiggled his eyebrows. "I know."
Laughing, we spun and swayed to the music. I hadn't danced like this in…well I never really did dance like this. We sang along to every Christmas song we knew, loudly and sometimes off key. It was amazing.
"Hey." Aaron pointed at the ceiling, and I followed his gaze to the mistletoe dangling above us. I giggled, suddenly very glad to have stayed. His arms snaked around my waist, and I slid mine around his neck. He pulled me toward him, softly singing the last words of the song into my ear in the moment before our lips met.
"All I want for Christmas, is you."