I really have no excuse as to why I've been MIA, except for the fact that I've been dealing with a lot at home and I've had a huge case of writer's block because of it. A quick shout out to Ambigous21 for sending me a message, it made me smile. To those who continued to stay vigilant for any updates, thank you. I hope you all haven't forgotten lil ol' me.

So, I came up with this slightly depressing piece that I hope you'll actually like.


It started snowing.

Clare was grateful that it was only a few flurries that weren't even sticking to the ground. If it really started snowing, it would mean she would have to go back inside.

Even with layers of clothing she had on, the whopping thirty degree weather still managed to chill her to the bone. But, she was determined to wait. She would wait for her dad to come home, just like she had every year.

You see, on Christmas Eve, Clare would wait outside for her dad to come home from work so they could go inside together, make themselves a seaming cup of hot chocolate, and watch a Christmas movie. Even when Darcy had been absent, they continued to do so. And despite the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Edwards were divorced, Clare still wanted to keep the tradition. They only difference was that he wasn't going to be there when she went to sleep on Christmas night.

But, Clare didn't care. So long as she could celebrate her favorite holiday with her parents, she would be happy.

"Clare?" Clare turned slightly to look behind her at Helen Edwards, who was standing in the threshold of their house. She smiled sweetly and came outside, walking until she stood beside her daughter.

"I was thinking that we could watch The Nativity Story this year." Her mother offered, looking down at her daughter. Clare grinned up at her mom.

"Sounds good." Clare then looked down at her watch and frowned. "Where's dad? It's almost ten o' clock." Helen's brow furrowed and she sighed in frustration.

"He must be running late. Anyways, Clare, you should probably come inside before you catch a cold. You can go outside again when your dad pulls up. I-"

"Can't I stay? I always stay outside and wait for dad." With a sigh of defeat, Helen reluctantly agreed. After kissing her daughter's forehead, she went back inside.

Clare continued to sit for another half hour, growing colder and anxious. Every time a car came rolling down the street, Clare would get excited, thinking it was her father. More than once, she jumped up to greet him, only to realize that it wasn't him.

Clare decided to count the light bulbs on her neighbor's roof edge after waiting for another half hour.

Suddenly, Clare saw someone walking towards her from the corner of her eye. She looked up and smiled brightly.

"Eli!" She cried happily, springing up. She launched herself at him, making him stumble back. He laughed and wrapped his arms around her waist, kissing the top of her head.

"Glad to see you, too, Blue Eyes." He grinned, looking down at her.

"What are you doing here?" She asked, cocking her head to the side.

"You weren't answering your phone, so I decided to check up on you, since I was out anyways." Eli explained.

"My phone?" She questioned, confused. Patting down her pockets, she realized she had left her phone on her nightstand. She grinned sheepishly. "Sorry. My phone is upstairs." She made a mental note to get it after her dad came home.

"Speaking of which, what are you doing out here. You're going to catch a cold." She sat down on the pavement and patted the seat next to her, inviting Eli to sit. He obliged.

"I'm waiting for my dad to come home. I kinda have this tradition where I stay out and wait for him to come home from work, but he's running late." Clare hoped that she hid her feeling of hopelessness. Her father would come.

"Well, would you like some company?" He offered, raising a brow. Clare smiled softly, looking down at her watch.

"You sure you don't have to get home? It's already…11:15? It's already that late?" She cried. Eli put a hand on her shoulder.

"Whoa, calm down, Clare." Clare eyes were wide and her heart hammered nervously in her chest. Where on earth was her father? "And, no, I don't have to get home yet. My parents just want me home before midnight so they can go to sleep."

Clare nodded and the two sat in silence while Clare fidgeted nervously. After a few minutes, Mrs. Edwards came back out, holding two mugs of hot chocolate. She placed them down beside her daughter. With a small smile at Eli as a greeting, she scurried back inside.

"Isn't it a little late, Clare? Don't you think you should go back inside? I'm sure your dad will understand. Besides, it's his own fault for being late." Clare shook her head vigorously.

It was eleven fifty-five by the time Clare had lost all hope. Her dad wasn't coming. Christmas was ruined.

"Hey." Eli called softly. Clare looked up at him, blinking back tears. Eli reached over to hold her hand. "Cheer up. So, your dad's not here for Christmas Eve. He'll be here for the actual day, right? Don't worry about it." Clare smiled ruefully, wiping away the tears that escaped.

"I'm sorry. It's just. Now that mom and dad are divorced and Darcy won't be joining us again, I just feel like…well, like Christmas isn't really here with everyone missing. It's not Christmas with just mom and me." She admitted.

"I could say something really cliché and dumb, like 'Your sister and dad will be in your heart on Christmas' or something cheesy like that, but I'm not. But, what I can tell you is that I'm here to stay. I'll be here today, tomorrow, and the day after that. And, I'll celebrate Christmas with you every year, even if I don't want to, because it makes you happy."

Clare threw her arms around Eli.

"That was cheesy all on its own. But, thank you. It means a lot to me." She pulled back slightly to look Eli in the eye. "I love you."

Bending down, Eli placed a sweet, chaste kiss on her lips. When he pulled away, he glanced down at his watch for a second, before looking back into her eyes.

"Merry Christmas, Clare." He whispered before he leaned down to kiss her once again.

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy New Year! I love you all! Leave a review as a Christmas present, will ya?