If you missed Part One, you can read it in the link below:
Christmas Magic, Part Two
Jessica woke the next morning feeling exhausted. She wasn’t sure if it was the crying or the traveling, or perhaps a combination of both, but no matter how much she yawned and stretched she couldn’t seem to come alive.
She opened the curtains and was surprised to find that the sun had already risen, she turned her head to look at the clock and saw that it was 8:00. “Wow!” She said aloud to herself.
She hopped in the shower and allowed the hot water to fall over her head, she relished in the comforting feeling before washing her body.
She bounded down the stairs and found her Uncle Marcus sitting at the kitchen table, reading the newspaper. “Good morning.” she greeted him as she poured herself a cup of coffee.”
“Good morning, my dear. How did you sleep?”
“I slept well, I just need some coffee to perk me up. I don’t feel quite alive yet.”
He raised a cup to her before turning back to his newspaper.
As usual, Jessica headed to the kitchen. She got out the dough she had made the night before, along with the oranges, cranberries, sugar, and every other ingredient she would need, and got to work on breakfast, a tradition her and Uncle Marcus started years ago.
She sighed heavily as she rolled out the dough for her orange rolls.
“Things are different this year.” Uncle Marcus stated, looking around the kitchen, dining room, and living room as if something was missing.
Jessica found herself doing the same. “They should be here.”
“I remember when you were just a little girl, you and Katie were always into something, except at Christmas time. You always wanted to be in the kitchen, helping Aunt Tammy and your mom, and your grandma.”
Jessica was looking at the bare spot in the living room where the tree would be, staring as if she were looking through a window to the past, she could see her loved ones, as if they were actually standing in the room, she could still smell her grandmother’s Chanel Number 5 perfume that she wore just to make orange rolls.
“I can still hear their laughter,” she spoke, quietly. “Dad cracking some sort of cheesy joke and Katie laughing until she couldn’t even sit up straight, clutching her stomach.” She chuckled at the memory.
“Your dad always loved making people laugh.” He stood up from the dining room table and moved to stand next to Jessica. “If it’s too hard, we can start new traditions.”
“No!” She said sternly. She looked into her uncle’s eyes, allowing her gaze to soften, her harsh response wasn’t intended to be harmful. “I promised my mom that I would continue our traditions, that I wouldn’t let them die with her.”
Uncle Marcus kissed her temple. “I always loved you as if you were a second daughter, you know that, right?”
“Of course I do,” she threw her arms around her uncle, resting her head on his chest, taking comfort in the familiarness, which was what she needed.
“I’m going to go bring a cup of coffee to your aunt, she’s less grumpy when I wake her with coffee.”
“Such a good man.” She replied.
“Only because she’s such a good woman.”
She smiled, they were the epitome of romance and it’s what she had always wanted, someone who would bring her coffee in the morning, someone who knew how she takes her coffee, a friend as well as a lover.
Remembering she had left her jar of homemade marmalade in her luggage, Jessica ran up the stairs to retrieve it. She checked her phone, excepting a message from her friend, Amanda. There was a message, but it wasn’t from Amanda, it was from Kevin. Three little words that stopped her dead in her tracks, three little words that held a different meaning now, three little words she could relate to because she felt it too.
“I miss you.”
Jessica sat down on the edge of her bed, letting out a heavy sigh.
“I miss you too.”
She left the message, but she didn’t hit send.
She threw herself back on her bed and groaned.
She heard a tapping at her door and leaned up on her elbows. “Come in,” she said in a sing-song voice.
“Uncle Marcus said you were starting the Christmas-decorating-breakfast, I was just coming down to join you.” Aunt Tammy stated as she entered the room.
Jessica was awestruck by her aunt’s appearance, she was still in her nightgown, it was sheer, but not see-through, and flowy, she looked like something from a page in a fairytale with her matching robe flowing behind her, and her petite hands wrapped around her mug, walking towards her.
“Is everything alright?” She asked, confused by Jessica’s staring.
“Yeah.” She smiled, “Forgive my staring, you’re just so beautiful, I hope I look as good as you do when I’m your age.”
Aunt Tammy blushed and let out a giggle, “Thank you, sweetheart.” “Good genes run in our family when it comes to aging.”
“The women in our family do seem to age very gracefully.”
“It’s a blessing, and even you, only in your 40’s, looks like you’re in your 30’s.”
“I even got carded buying wine the other day.”
“Woohoo!” her aunt clapped and laughed before hugging her.
Jessica laughed at Aunt Tammy’s enthusiasm, she wasn’t sure why it had struck her so funny, but she couldn’t contain her laughter. She swiped the tears from her eyes as she tried to calm herself, taking deep breaths, breaking them with chuckles before finally succeeding.
Aunt Tammy laughed along because Jessica’s laugh was contagious.
“I do have this gray streak,” she said as she stroked the shiny, silver streak in her hair.
“It’s beautiful,” She smiled, lifting the streak in her hands. “You take after your grandmother, she had the same streak, in the same spot. “You look a lot like her, you know.”
“I remember always thinking grandma looked just like a movie star, she was gorgeous.”
“And so are you.” She picked up her niece’s hand and kissed it.
Jessica smiled shyly, looking down at her phone, “Thank you.”
“I heard you groan earlier, is everything okay?”
Jessica looked up from her phone to her aunt and back to her phone, “Kevin.”
“He messaged you?”
“What did he say?”
“I miss you.”
“What did you say?”
“I miss you too.”
Aunt Tammy gasped, cupping her hands over her mouth.
“I haven’t sent it.”
“So you’re just leaving him hanging?”
“Don’t be cruel dear, he didn’t mean to hurt you.”
“That’s the thing, Aunt Tammy, he didn’t hurt me, he’s the only man who has never hurt me.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Aunt Tammy, he had this opportunity to chase his dreams, but I wasn’t in a place where I felt ready to go with him, and I couldn’t allow him to give up his dreams for me.”
“It’s sweet of you to think of him, and want what’s best for him, but did it ever occur to you that maybe his dreams changed, now he wants whatever dream will lead him to you?”
Jessica broke down in tears, “I never want to hurt him.” She brought her hands up to her face.
Aunt Tammy bent down and picked up Jessica’s phone, she held it out to her, “Then press send.”
Jessica sniffed, nodding her head as she took the phone and pushed the button.
Almost immediately she felt her phone vibrate, she smiled as she looked up at her aunt.
She inhaled deeply before opening the message.
“He sent the heart emoji.” She looked up at her aunt.
Aunt Tammy’s face fell soft and she placed her hands over her heart, looking lovingly at her niece.
“Listen to your heart, it won’t steer your wrong when it comes to love.”
Jessica smiled and nodded.
“<3” And this time, she hit send.
Meanwhile, in Old Saybrooke, Connecticut, Kevin was meeting with his boss, Mr. Peterson, pitching him his idea and hoping with all of his might that his boss would go for it.
Kevin found himself rambling on and on about why his idea was good for Mr. Peterson’s company. He was growing more and more anxious by the second.
“Kevin,” Mr. Peterson interrupted. “I love the idea, let’s regroup after the first of the year and we’ll work out all of the details then.”
“Oh, thank you so much, Mr. Peterson, you are not going to regret this.”
“You’re the best writer we have, Mr. Long. I trust your judgment. I’ll see you on Monday, go on, you have a three-hour trip ahead of you.”
“Thank you again, Mr. Peterson. For everything.” Kevin shook his hand before sprinting to his car, he couldn’t wait to tell his favorite person the good news!
He grabbed his phone, making one of the most important calls of his life, “Hey, Sara, can we grab coffee? I have some news.”