Maggie sat curled up on the couch between Henry and Jasper as they all watched A Christmas Story. It was Christmas Eve, and Mr. Bartlett had finally figured out how to make gingerbread, yet was still incompetent at decorating them nicely or with any moderation. A plate of over-iced, drag queen-like gingerbread "men" sat on the coffee table before them, as well as three mugs of hot chocolate.
As much as they liked the movie, they were more interested in going outside. It was snowing; big fat flakes drifted from the sky, each one begging to be part of a snowball or snow fort or snowman. The less ambitious ones wanted to be included in a snow angel and the slightly crazy ones demanded to help form a snow dragon. Not that the trio cared what the snowflakes wanted or even considered whether they had hopes and ambitions; they just wanted there to be enough of them to stomp around in and throw at each other. Every few minutes the three friends would glance out the window, waiting for the layer of snow to get thicker. Then they'd look at the clock on the wall to assure themselves that there was still time and they could go outside before it got too late.
"You'll shoot your eye out!" mocked the movie's mall Santa and mall elves as Maggie bit into her gingerbread tranny.
Henry stood up and said, "I can't wait anymore."
As he strode off to the coat rack by the front door, Maggie and Jasper exchanged a look before following him.
Six inches of snow so far. In their hats, coats, scarves and gloves, the three were ready to take advantage of it. It was nine o'clock, too late for kids to be outside, so Henry, Jasper, and Maggie were alone in their little winter wonderland.
The front yard was covered in a pristine layer of snow, which Henry soon ruined by running across. Jasper followed after him, weary of being hit by a snowball. Maggie came slowly along, relishing the feel of snowflakes melting on her nose.
As expected, Henry knelt down to pack a few fist-sized lumps of snow. Jasper moved closer to the street and started making a snowman.
Maggie watched them both as she meandered around the yard, and then took in the scenery. When she saw a cluster of mistletoe growing in the dormant oak tree, she thought of Henry. She knew exactly how she felt about him, and she was doing well at ignoring those feelings. Things were crazy enough without trying to cultivate their romantic relationship; it just wasn't smart. They didn't belong together. He knew that, right? They couldn't possibly… But then again, why not? Because of her plans? Because he wasn't ambitious and Ivy League-bound like her? Did that really make him wrong for her?
She shook her head to clear it. He's not some leather jacket-wearing bad boy. He wasn't even putting her in danger the way he used to. Not a single adventure since they found out about the baby. It must be killing him to ignore whatever odd little clues he might've found, and Maggie knew it was because he had their child to worry about. And no way would he allow Maggie to get in danger in her present state. Really, he was going against his nature for her sake.
Finally, she admitted to herself that it wasn't so bad to be in love with him. Not that she was going to abandon her senses and run away with him, but still; it was something.
Henry and Jasper were having a snowball fight: Henry was protected by the oak tree and Jasper used his poor snowman as a shield. When they both stopped to make more ammo, Maggie trotted over to Henry.
He smiled up at her while rolling his third snowball. "Hey, Mags. You're not too cold out here, are you?"
"Could you stand up for a minute, please?"
When he obeyed, she looked up at the big clump of mistletoe above them. Curious, Henry followed her line of sight. When he met her gaze again, he asked, "Hey, is that—?"
But he didn't get to finish, because Maggie pulled him in for a warm, hot cocoa-flavored kiss. Smiling against her lips, he wrapped his arms around her.
Sensing the fight had gone out of his cousin, Jasper abandoned his ammunition and started reconstructive surgery on his snowman. When he finished, Henry was still kissing Maggie.
"I've got Parson Brown over here if you need him." he yelled, and smiled when he heard the couple giggle. It's about damn time, you two, he thought.
Christmas morning came without burning trees, aggressive squirrels, or escaping tarantulas, and that made Henry very happy. Jasper and Henry glanced at each other in triumph when Maggie squealed over her new sweaters from them. And she even melted a little when she opened the teddy bear (which was very obviously a teddy bear by the way it was wrapped, but she pretended to be surprised). Uncle Bryan made pancakes, they watched more Christmas movies, they played in the snow some more, and Henry even got to sleep in Maggie's bed with her that night. The only drawback was the feeling that things were going to get very bad very soon.