Hello everyone, I hope you all are well as the holiday season is getting into full swing. I was recently thinking during one of my ballet rehearsals "Hey, I haven't written a Bade story in a while" and then the wheels in my mind went turning and this came out when I got back to my room. Now, it should have been my essay on A Separate Peace but face it, this is much better to write than an essay; it's easier, that's for sure :) So grab some cocoa and a gingerbread cookie and read away!

The two of them laid on the couch, tangled around each other so tightly that you could not tell where one stopped and the other started. Their parents were seated around the counter in the kitchen, sipping coffee and debating when to force them to come up for air. Every now and then, one would poke their head in. They never moved. The sun started to set.

She eventually pulled away and curled up against him. Her hands were cold, despite the roaring fire just a few feet away, so she tucked his around her own. He didn't protest, only pulled her closer and pressed his lips to her forehead.

"Tell me why you love me," she murmured into his chest. There were days when she couldn't understand why he dated her, and today was one of them. She always doubted herself. Often aggressive and occasionally violent, most of the people they went to school with didn't like her, and some even feared her. They only respected her because she could sing like it was nobody's business.

He paused for a moment. Several ideas popped into his head immeadiately: her smile, her talent, the way she blushes when he would kiss her in front of her parents. But she would never like any of those answers. She would say that they made her sound too soft. Just when he had found the right words to say, her mother poked her head into the room.

"Hi. Everyone is here; they're in the living room and are wondering where you two are," her mother said with a wink. "I promised I'd find you." They got off the couch and walked to the living room hand in hand, stopping to say hello to the other adults that had joined their parents in the kitchen. Then they rushed to say hello to their friends, finished with a flourish of hugs and air kisses and comments of how pretty or handsome everyone looked. Snow speckled their friends' hair; it had just started to fall.

The next few minutes are spent catching up over cocoa; the whole group has not been together since they got out of school for break last week. One tells a story of how their mom washed their clothes on the wrong setting; another talks about how those clothes now fit them. The most eccentric of all of them asks if they think Santa will be coming that night; when laughed at and told that there is no Santa, she looks as if she is going to cry, so her hostess offers to go and grab a plate of gingerbread cookies from the kitchen. Her friends perk up.

While in the kitchen, she hears the adults talking. She listens in for a moment; it's a habit of hers. After a minute, she hears her mother say how surprised she is going to be. She's intrigued, but her friends call her back into the living room.

She is attacked for the cookies. Taking two of them, she sits down in her boyfriend's lap and plants a kiss on his lips. He bites the head off of one of her cookies. She laughs the laugh he knows so well and most people never hear.

"You know, I never got my answer," she says, nuzzling into his neck. He smiles. She can be so stubborn sometimes.

"What answer?" asks another one of their friends, twirling a lock of her long brown hair. He tells them her question. One suggests her anger problems for his answer, making her frown. He assures her that that will not be his answer, and her brow unfurrows. She wants her answer now, she tells him. He suggests that they all exchange their gifts now. She pouts but agrees, and then jumps up to turn on the Christmas tree lights so that the room will feel more festive. She doesn't notice the redhead run to the door and motion for the adults to come over.

The friends begin opening presents, ripping the wrapping off of boxes and tossing tissue paper back and forth at each other. One of them slaps a bow on her head. She's in such a good mood that she doesn't protest, merely smiles for the camera that one of them pulled out. Even though she would normally be pissed off, its hard to get mad at people when they know her too well.

Once all of the presents are opened, they sit back and thank each other, sliding the empty cocoa cups across the tables like hockey pucks. Her boyfriend tells her that he has his answer to her question, and she quiets in anticipation.

"I can show you better than I can tell you," he says, handing her an immpeccably wrapped, teeny tiny box. It has a curled gold ribbon atop it. She tells him he already gave her twogorgeous presents, a black leather bag and matching black chiffon scarf he got for her on his vacation to Italy, that he didn't need to get her another thing. He tells her that he needed to get her one more, that it was important to him. So she slowly pulls off the ribbon, and then the paper, until she reveals a black velvet box. She doesn't notice that everyone is staring at her, or that all of their parents are clustered at the doorway, or that her mom is videotaping her.

She smiles at him. "What's this?" she asks, trying to sound annoyed that he probably bought her an expensive pair of earrings that she knows she is going to love. He tells her to open it. She does.

And gasps as a beautiful diamond ring glints back at her from the tree lights. She nearly drops it because she is so surprised. He takes the box from her and pulls the ring out. He holds it up and murmurs the words she never thought she would hear.

"Marry me."

And she responds by sticking it on her finger and kisses him passionately on the lips. It was the best Christmas she would ever recieve.

I hope y'all liked reading this as much as I liked writing it. Now I have to cram-write my essay, but hey, I don't really care either. Review, s'il vouz plait.

xo, Chantal