Christmas on the Cherry Farm: A Fated Souls Vignette
“It looks like Christmas threw up in here.” Aidan chuckled into the back of Maggie’s neck. She inhaled deeply and exhaled on a contented sigh. He was fresh from the shower and the scent of his soap and shampoo mingled with pine from the tree they had spent most of the prior evening decorating. She leaned into his embrace, enjoying the connection.
“Is it too much?” She tried to look at the room objectively and scrunched her nose. The tree was the focal point — it stood nearly as tall and as wide as the windows it was centered before and it glittered with tiny fairy lights. It was covered in ornaments, a mix of old and new — ones Aidan had in storage and those Maggie had had shipped from Philadelphia, plus ones they had bought together on a recent shopping trip. She’d saved the angel for last; she wanted to put that on together, today. But she’d giggled when she’d hung the stockings on an actual fireplace.
She had the stereo tuned to a station playing Christmas carols. Stuffed Santas, reindeers, and snowmen mingled with their ceramic counterparts and grinned out at her from various nooks and crannies. Candles and bells littered every available surface. It had snowed again and the lights twinkling in the windows reflected off the ice. She could see her new Audi, an early Christmas gift from Aidan, sparkling in the December sunlight. Somehow even the shiny SUV managed to look festive.
“No. I love it. I haven’t celebrated since my mom died. Haven’t wanted to or had a reason to — until now.” He squeezed her lightly. “My mom loved Christmas. I avoided the holiday because I thought it would make me miss her more. Now I wish I had celebrated. It feels like she’s here.” He kissed her neck. “Thank you. She’d have loved this. And you. And her granddaughter.”
“I have something for you.” Maggie stepped away and produced a small, weathered box from behind the sofa which she then presented to him solemnly. She had guessed when she’d found the antique in storage that it had been his mother’s and that it was likely he hadn’t seen it since she passed away.
He smiled sadly when he un-wrapped the angel from the yellow folds of tissue paper.
“I’m sorry, Aidan. I overstepped.” She laid her hand against his cheek.
“No way, Rock Star, you did just right.” He kissed her palm. “This will be absolutely perfect on top of our tree. Thank you.”
She sat on the arm of the sofa and provided direction. Aidan perched on top of the ladder, attempting to place the angel to her satisfaction. She could tell he was getting exasperated with her and she tucked her tongue in her cheek and intentionally made him correct it a few more times than necessary before declaring it perfect. She was waiting at the bottom of the ladder to wrap her arm around his waist so they could view the tree together. She thought it was splendid.
“Christmas spirit wasn’t exactly high on my mother’s list of priorities, as you can imagine. But Jenna’s family always included me. They knew how to do Christmas: lots of mess and cookies and laughter and love.” She turned in his arms. “This will be Tala’s first Christmas, our first Christmas, in our home with our family, our tree. Not someone else’s being shared. I might’ve gone a little overboard.”
“We’ll go overboard every year,” he promised, then dipped his head low and kissed her soundly. The kiss deepened and her hands tangled into his hair as the tone shifted. Aidan’s hands ranged low, skimmed over, and then cupped her backside. “Hmmm,” he hummed. “Baby’s still napping, right?” She nodded. “I’ve never made love under a Christmas tree before; how about you?”
“Of course not.” Maggie tried, and failed, to sound shocked by the suggestion as Aidan started to back step her toward the tree, his lips nipping at her earlobe. But her lips quirked up and a laugh escaped as he hummed “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” against her neck, his fingers skating under the hem of her shirt. “You’re naughty.”
He shrugged, pulled the shirt up over her head, and tossed it aside. “I don’t need the jolly old bugger to bring me anything for Christmas.” With his finger tucked into her bra strap he tugged her close. “I’ve got everything I want right here.”
With her heart tripping over his words, Maggie slid to the floor with her husband, and under the tree filled with fairy lights they started making their own traditions.