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The Bachelors put it best when they sang, "And so this is Christmas, for weak and for strong. The rich and the poor ones, the road is so long." Our story starts on a long road—well, a crescent. Lighthouse Crescent was the main street in the city of Pockwock that Kittie Nicole lived in. She lived with her brother and her parents. Kittie spent her time with her best friends Natalia and Stefan, or with her British (good for nothing) boyfriend Aaron who had a pretty face, but let me tell ya kiddo, he definitely wasn't pretty anywhere else. Nonetheless, Kittie loved him.
"Auntie, If he wasn't pretty anywhere else, why did she love him?"
"Oh, darling, we were wondering the same thing. The thing about love is it's beautiful, and it makes the world go around, but not all love is good. There's a very bad type of love where it blinds you and it hurts you and makes you into someone your not."
When she was with her girls, Kittie was always silly, caring, passionate, and definitely the life of the party, but while with Aaron, she was quiet, shy, and all the lights in her eyes went out like a Christmas tree that has just lost power to an ongoing storm. He was jealous, loud, and aggressive with a short fuse—not to mention, he was twice Kittie's height.
One morning Kittie was sitting in her and Aaron's Chem 12 class awaiting his arrival. The class started off how most of Mr. Young's classes did, with an old radio playing rock and roll and the smell of existential dread.
"Sorry to interrupt again, but what is existential dread?"
"You'll learn once you get to high school, Noah."
Aaron was running late for class, he hadn't shown up yet, and Mr. Young started to call out the groups he had assigned. Kittie anxiously picked at her tights as her eyes darted back from the door to the clock. She knew that to most people preassigned partners was usually a fairly stress-free process—not today, because she knew Aaron wasn't in the best mood this morning, so if she was assigned to be partners with anyone else, but him, well, it would be the end of his world as he knew it; suddenly the floor was lava and everyone running around were chickens with their heads cut off, an all out purge in Buton High.
"How can a chicken run without a head, Auntie?"
"That's not important they just do it."
As Mr. Young went down the list Kittie got more anxious, she kept texting Aaron but there was no response on his end.
"Taylor Long, you're with Kittie Nicole," Mr. Young called out. "Kittie please move your stuff over to his table."
Kittie sighed to herself, just waiting for hurricane Aaron to walk in. Not only was she not partnered with her boyfriend, but it was also with the only other male in the class, who Aaron apparently caught smoking weed in the school detention room while he was supposed to be in gym with him. Just as Kittie sat down and started to mutter a "hi" to Taylor, Aaron had walked in and his face went from 30 shades of snow to 1000 shades of mistleno.
His argument started with a booming, "What do you think you're doing? That's not where we sit."
"Hi baby, this is Taylor, he's my partner for the final project," Kitty said, quietly intimidated by how loud the classroom suddenly got when he walked in.
"Oh yeah? And whose cheeky idea was this?" he scoffed with a chimney full of sarcasm and anger.
"Mine," Mr. Young said. "Now, Mr. Miller, please sit next to Mrs. Mackay as she will be your partner. I made all of the groups because I was tired of your hissy fits about being with your girlfriend."
Aaron slammed his textbook against the desk with anger and muttered, "Bloody bollox that's what this is, some girlfriend I have." Lisa who usually is too busy staring at her phone was at attention because she had always had a huge crush on Aaron and he was being obnoxiously loud.
"What's wrong Aaron?" Lisa asked while not so casually fixing her hair.
"Stupid girls," he puffed
"You know Kittie is kinda a great girl, she loves you," Lisa said with a fake smile.
"Yeah, I'm not too sure about that one."
After class, Kittie would normally wait for Aaron, but after the way he acted in class, she didn't even want to see him so she left as Taylor left; this was the class before lunch, so they walked to the cafeteria together and got in line. Then came along Frosty the Snowman stomping through the school. Aaron grabbed Kittie by the arm and pulled her out of the line.
"What is up with you today?! First you insist on being this loser's..." he gestured to Taylor. "Partner... and make me get stuck with lazy eye Lisa who at one point in the class took a picture of me." Aaron was clearly upset because there was a vein on his forehead that would pop up when he got upset. "Then you just ditch me for lunch—no. I'm not having it. You're my girlfriend. You should listen to me."
Kittie looked up at him, then at Taylor, and sighed. "Taylor hand me the eggnog from my cup holder on my bag please," she said calmly. As he handed it to her, she smiled, looked at Aaron, and the smile completely dropped. "Well, are you sure I'm your girlfriend? Because it didn't sound like it in class." She glanced down at the eggnog. "Honestly if your idea of a girlfriend is someone who obeys and only speaks to you then I never want to be your definition of a girlfriend. Look. I heard everything you said in class. I always do because I did love you, but you showed your true colors today, and I'm all here for the LGBTQ+ community, but I'm not down for this rainbow of emotions you put me through. I heard it when you told Lisa that I was the worst kisser. Well, 'babe,' you can kiss this." She smiled and opened the carton of eggnog, then walked around Aaron and ripped off the keychain she had given him on their second date that hasn't left the book bag. "My name may be Kittie, but I am no one's pet." She popped the eggnog into a pocket of the book bag and walked back around with a smile, "Come on, Taylor. Nat and Stephan are waiting for us." She gestured to one of the many tables whose attention was on them. "Don't get too spoiled, Miller." She patted him on the shoulder and walked away.
Taylor followed Kittie to the table where they discussed what had happened with Kittie's friends. After school they went to Taylor's to work on the project. His house was big and looked as though Netflix's Christmas section had exploded in his house. Every Christmas decoration you could think of was there, and Taylor turned on the lights as they made their way to the office.
"I know, not the place you were expecting. My mom loves Christmas because that's when every one of the women in my family has found their significant other—including my sister Rehtaeh. The men usually get found by women," he spoke with happiness and then chuckled.
"It is beautiful, and that's interesting how it worked out like that." Kittie, for some reason, had kept her eyes off Taylor before now. She was seeing him in a totally different light. Maybe it was the way the lights around the room reflected in his eyes, or maybe it was the sugarplum fairies dancing around her stomach.
The day turned to night. As they worked on the project, they lost track of the time and didn't notice it started to snow. Out of nowhere both of their phones went off at the same time, so they checked them. She had been at his place for four hours, but to them, it felt like 10 minutes.
"It's snowing?" Taylor asked, looking out the window, noticing that the snow has already piled halfway up his window. He looked over at Kittie, who was already looking at him. A smile grew on his face. "So, I guess that makes this our first sleepover."
Kittie wasn't sure how to feel about the situation, but she texted her mom to let her know that she be home tomorrow due to being snowed in. She smiled and nodded at Taylor. He picked up the book that was on her lap and put it on the desk.
"I think we've done enough work for tonight. Want to go watch a Christmas movie?" he purposed with a large grin.
"Okay, but you'll have to pick the movie. I'm too indecisive," Kittie answered, following him as he got up. He led her to a room that had a video camera decoration hanging on the door.
As he opened the door, her jaw dropped a little—he had a home theater the size of the one in town.
"Auntie, was he rich?!"
"His parents were. Anyway..."
"Taylor picked The Holiday directed by Nancy Myers and Kittie thought he couldn't have picked a better movie. She took this as half of a hint that maybe she was now on his Christmas wishlist. Of course, she didn't act upon on the thought. That would have been too unlike her. Little did she know that every time they walked through a door they would run into a mistletoe, so he would have an excuse to kiss her. As the movie went on, he slowly inched closer to her on the couch they had been laying on.
"Would you be against cuddling?" Kittie asked, with a bit of hope peaking out at the end of her sentence. "All that happened today has just kinda hit me and I need to hold someone."
Taylor didn't answer, but wrapped himself around her and kissed her forehead. By the end of the movie, it was 1 AM and both of these little Santa babies were asleep. As he slept, Taylor subconsciously pulled Kittie closer.
The next day the snow had cleared and school was not canceled, so Taylor's mom woke them up at 7 AM. She acted upset so Taylor would actually wake up, but internally, she was smiling because she hadn't seen her son that happy in years.
"Taylor Joshua Long, what are you doing?! Who is this?! Why aren't you getting ready for school?!" she yelled, waking both of them up.
Kittie woke up in a panic, not knowing what was happening. She fought back the tears her body told her to let go of, but as she woke up more she realized who this must have been. They must have been running late for school, so she jumped up and fixed her hair, apologized to Mrs. Long, and told her she would drive them to school because it was all her fault. They got to school and both of them wanted a kiss before they headed their separate ways, but of course Aaron was waiting at Kittie's locker. He had a CD in his hand and his eyes were covered by a pair of sunglasses. Kittie wanted to walk the other way, or to just pull Taylor in and kiss him, but her binder was in her locker and she couldn't go to an English class without it. Taylor wished her good luck with a wink and then he walked to his class. Aaron begged for Kittie to take him back, but she had to turn him down and didn't even grab the CD he had made with songs that reminded him of her; she had gotten the same one for her birthday earlier that year. She rolled her eyes and told Aaron to leave her alone.
A few weeks passed since Taylor and Kittie had their sleepover. They had been texting daily since, but neither of them mentioned their feelings that they both hoped were mutual. That was until Taylor met her outside their class one day with a grin and a bunch of candy canes in his hand. Kittie walked over to him with an eyebrow raised.
"Sweet tooth much?" Kittie teased with a smirk.
"Well, kinda..." he paused, trying to build the courage to finish his sentence, which was as easy as a toddler building a snowman. "I knew you do, so I got these for you, but the thing I really have a sweet spot for is... well, you," he said as his cheeks started to match the red bow that wrapped the candy canes together. Kittie took the candy canes and hugged him tightly.
"I was hoping you'd say something like that," she said as she pulled away slightly, not expecting him to pull her into a kiss.
"But... but... Auntie, what happened next? Did they fall in love?"
"Well, Noah, maybe it's better if I show you."
I reached for my bag and pulled out a red and green photo album with a picture of a cute couple kissing next to a tree on the front.
Noah took it from my hands and flipped through it with a grin.