It was 1941 and here I was sitting at home on my bed staring at a picture of Dominic Sorel that sat on my bedroom dresser. He never knew I had it and I wanted to keep it that way. But I didn't keep that picture for sentimental reasons or anything like that. The reason I had it was because he's the I love…and the one person I want to spend the rest of my days with…but the problem isn't me, it's him.

You see, Dominic so far has been oblivious towards my affections for him. I've done everything from flashing myself by making it look like everything I did were accidents…wearing clothes he never would have expected…to even trying to…though I dare to say this…flirt with other guys I had no interests in. I don't know what it's going to take to make him realize I love his stupid ass! But anyway here's the story where he took me completely by surprise on one amazing Christmas eve night.

Now we had known each other since kindergarten, and I was the first one to get his attention. It kind of made the other boys around us mad that he never spent any time with them but I didn't care. I was young and possessive. If I wanted something at that time I was going to get it. And something about Dominic as we grew up over the years made me want him not only as a friend, but as a lover as well.

I believe it all started, well, for me at least around the seventh grade. We were attending the same middle school together along with Dominic's best friend Renton. We also had Matthieu, Hilda, Gidget, and Moon Doggie. For some reason Doggie never let's us use his actual name so we just humor him with his nickname. But that was typical for us which was fine. I wouldn't have changed anything other than Renton being a constant loner and always wanting to be by himself. But it was pretty much a part of who he was so changing that I'm sure was out of the question. And I knew that trying to do anything about it with him would have led to an argument I didn't really want to have. Mainly because I wanted to stay as close to Dominic as possible. I don't think he ever noticed though nor did I for some reason now that I think upon it. I guess we were at that age where we were all just starting to notice each other in different ways but I was being somewhat of a late bloomer. Or at least that's what my parents thought but that was besides the point.

Anyway I think what started me noticing what I felt about Dominic started during one rainy spring morning. It was early spring and me and him had gotten a late start to school so we were running the entire way in an effort to make it on time. Thankfully we did with more than enough time to spare to head to our lockers and gather our things for class and hang up our wet items to dry. But the moment I stepped into the hallway where our lockers were I failed to notice the still wet floor from all the other students entering into the school and down I went. Which in turn sent all the things I had in my hands flying into air and falling around me. "Ow…ow…ow…that hurts…"

"Anemone! You alright?!"

"Yeah, I'm fine save for a sore rear." I groaned out as I sat up. But what I didn't know was that a button or two had loosened on my blouse during my fall and as he had taken my hand to help me up, I looked up into his face and got instantly curious. "Umm…Dominic, why is your face turning red?"

"Oh! It's umm…nothing really! Honest!" he then responded as I brushed myself off a bit. But when I bent over to start picking up my things for some reason I felt a cool draft go down the front of my blouse. When he noticed as did I, it was evident I had forgotten to put on a bra due to us running behind. "Dominic…you…"

"I didn't see anything! I swear!" he quickly said in defense. But I just screamed and called him a pervert while punching him square in the face. Well that didn't go over well with any of the staff which caused me a weeks worth of detention and having to apologize for the accident. Well…not actually for that…but more for punching him when it wasn't his fault in the first place. But it definitely made me more aware of my body and surroundings. As for Dominic, well he never let me get close to him for a while after that which really hurt.

It was the summer after school following that incident that we were finally able to make up to each other for our mistakes but with us starting to hit our growth spurts and changes, something about just thinking about him would make my heart skip a beat. I had no idea what it was or what was causing it, but it just drew me to him more and more. There were even nights where I couldn't stop dreaming about him. Well on those nights I would never leave the house the next day unless it was an emergency. I didn't want anyone seeing me at my worst which would have been embarrassing. Let me explain why.

You see everyone, I'm somewhat of a diva. Or in terms, I'm spoiled. I like having the best things in terms of clothes, dresses, jewelry, make-up, accessories, and everything else that suited my unique tastes. I don't know what caused me to turn out that way as I know my parents never raised me to be like that, but I just preferred having the nicer things in life. The only time I didn't care was at night when I wore my favorite nightgown which had still fit me as I continued growing. And I think that's what my mom had in mind too when she got for me as a birthday present. Even at my current height it still touched the floor and shined beautifully in the moonlight with all it's pink glory. Right down to the glittered chest area. It was never just thrown in a washing machine either. It always got washed at our local dry cleaners professionally so it wouldn't get damaged and that was fine with me as long as it came back to me in the same shape it went out in.

It was during a shopping excursion one day during our eighth grade year when I really noticed how much Dominic meant to me. That mid July day I was out in my favorite white blouse and pink dress along with my black heels taking on the town. Gidget was with me until she had ran into her boyfriend of which she then conveniently disappeared on me. But I was used to that since those two were glued at the hip each time they saw each other. But in any case, crazy me had picked up one too many packages that I figured I could handle. Well I was wrong in that aspect when I accidentally tripped over a crack in the sidewalk in front of our local department store. My stuff again went flying as I went down face first into the pavement below me, with my face luckily landing onto one of the boxes so I didn't get hurt there. "Dang it…my new dresses!"

"You know…" I then heard his voice say coming in from behind me. "That…umm…should be the least of your problems."

"And what is that supposed to mean Dominic?"

"It means your underwear is showing."

"PERVERT!" I screamed. "Did you ever stop to think about helping me before you said that?!"

"Sorry…it didn't come to mind." he then admitted as I pulled my dress back down before anyone else could see anything.

"Whatever! Just for that help me gather my things and help me carry them home."

"Yes Anemone…" he sighed. But as I watched him intently I gulped trying to catch my breath when I noticed just how handsome he was turning out to be. It was almost enough make me pass out the more I watched him! By now my heart was thumping so fast and hard I swore it was going to break out of my teenage chest. "Anemone! ANEMONE!"

"HUH?! What? Did you need something?"

"Yeah…I got your things together. Now come on. Let's get you home so that way I know you'll be alright."

"Okay…sure." I said nodding while blushing looking up at him. And as I took his hand once again so he could help me up, I noticed not only the sparks that flew through my body, but the warmth of his hand and the gentleness of his smile. It was then that I realized from the stories that my mother had told me that I was actually in love with my childhood friend.

When we started our freshman year of high school, I really began noticing the changes in the way we started interacting with each other. I was treating him more and more like I cared for him while he continued treating me like the childhood friends we had always been. Now with me being a girl who was crushing on her first love, that annoyed me to no end! But I wasn't about to give up. I had budded out myself by that time and was taking on the look of a well defined girl in all the right areas. At least that's what my mother told me. And I think that's why my father was starting to become so protective of me. But whenever I mentioned Dominic around him he would always sit back with a smile while smoking his favorite tobacco pipe. I didn't know if I should have taken that as a sign or not since my parents liked him in the first place but I guess I took it for what it was. But what I didn't know was that they had approved of him in the first place. They just never told me about it. I had to find out for myself the hard way.

I think it was the first school dance of the year when Dominic came into his own for me, and that night sealed the deal for me as to what my feelings were. We were attending the fall solstice dance that was being held in our school gymnasium. It was a light affair that had us girls dressed basically in our Sunday best as well as the men. But I didn't want to look like I was actually going to church so I added a few accessories like a gold hair clip to keep my hair out of my face while also applying some light make-up and earrings for a more decorative effect. My dress was a simple one piece that was all white other than a pink ribbon that ended in a bow behind me. I also decorated with a nice pink shawl around my neck for an added effect. Add in my shoes and white stockings and I was set to hit the dance floor. I really thought I looked amazing and I hoped Dominic thought so as well.

When he picked me up at the door my parents greeted him in their usual friendly matter and my mom got all emotional when he placed a pink carnation corsage around my wrist. "It's beautiful Dominic. Thank you."

"It suits you well Anemone." he said smiling at me. All I could do was blush as he took my arm into his. "I shall have her back at a good time tonight."

"We trust you Dominic. You two have a good time together now."

"We will father! Night!"

"Night you two!" My mother called out to us as we stepped into the cool night air. But all I could do was smile, my arms never once letting go of his until we got to the school.

Once we were in and had our tickets punched, we made out way to the gym to greet the others. The only one not in attendance was of course Renton who was supposedly working on trying to get a hold of his brother for some reason or another. I could never understand his reasoning on a lot of things so I let it go with a grain of salt. I still had my other friends with us so I wasn't going to let one person spoil my whole evening. "Anemone, I am going to go get something to drink. Would you care for anything?"

"Sure." I said with a nod and a smile. "I'll take whatever you bring me."

"I will be right back then." and off he dashed like the handsome guy he was. "God I've fallen for him…"

"That's quite obvious from here." our friend Gidget said with a smile as she came up to me with Doggie. "You two should get together already! You make a perfect couple!"

"I want to…but I'm not sure how to tell or show him. That's the only problem."

"I'll help you out then! I've got sure fire ways of getting a boyfriend! That's how I ended up with Moon Doggie!" Well I soon learned that her ways of doing things would embarrass me in more ways than one.

The rest of the night went along smoothly at least and the dance was amazing! I had more slow dances with my love than I could have ever wanted in one night. Sure he snuck in a few dances with other female colleagues but they were nothing more than friends to him and I understood that. I in no way wanted to monopolize the poor guy. Just loving him like I currently did was alright for me though he never knew. But the dance ended on a good note and I got ahead of Dominic just a bit so I decided to wait for him outside the doors while he chatted with another friend for a minute or so. Well that unfortunately left just enough time to let one of the school creeps get up close to me. "Hey Anemone…you're looking good this evening."

"Get away from me Grayson." I sighed. "I want nothing to do with you."

"Aww…why not?" He smirked trying to wrap an arm around my shoulders. But I immediately slapped him off and backed away.

"Aww come on, toots, what's the matter?" he breathed quietly in my ear. "You look rather lonely tonight"

"I am not lonely! I have Dominic with me!"

"Then why's he not with you?"

"He's talking with a friend that's all." I said nervously in defense. During this I was trying to keep myself as close to the doors and crowd as I could so I wouldn't be too far away from anybody. "I'm just waiting for him!"

"Let me guess: he hasn't made a move on you, and that's why you're testy." I looked at Grayson, and was surprised that one of the school flirts actually had some intelligence.

"Why're you wasting your time with him if he's not interested in you? Comes out with you to the dance and then leaves you to face the wolves"

"I just got ahead of him that's all! Don't get the wrong ideas about him! He's a hundred times more the man you'll ever be!"

"Oh yeah? Why don't you prove it to me, little lady?" Without any warning, Grayson grabbed me by the wrist, leading me to the dance floor despite my protests. "Like say I wanted to have a nice dance with you. A decent guy like your wannabe soldier boy would come here and punch me out, wouldn't he?"

"Yes, he would," said a familiar voice from behind Grayson. He immediately turned around and was greeted by a straight punch to the eye, courtesy of Dominic. His grip on me loosened as he fell on his back, right onto the hard wood floor of the dance hall.

"Sorry it took me so long," Dominic said over the loud blaring music, obviously concerned. "Matthieu just wouldn't shut up. Did he hurt you at all?"

"No, I'm fine other than my wrist being a little sore." I admitted rubbing it.

"I guess you're not in the mood for a dance then" he trailed off, leading me away from the floor. There was a look in his gunmetal grey eyes that seemed to hide something. He was never the kind to be open about a lot of things with many people, unless it was with someone he trusted. Someone like me.

"Well we could have one last dance or two." I admitted blushing as I felt the heat rise up into my face. I was glad it was kind of dark in the gym or else he probably would have seen it. "But is your hand alright?"

"My hand's fine. Not like Matthieu who has the strongest grip in the world," he said chuckling quietly. He took me to the only spot on the gym floor that wasn't crowded, and, as if by cue, a slow melody filled the room.

"May I have this dance?" he asked, extending his hand out to me the way royalty would at a gala ball.

"You shall my good sir." I said smiling as I extended my hand out to his. "Thou is such a gentleman. I do say I approve of that."

"Well, with such vagabonds as Grayson, I have to always be a gentleman, my dear lady," he replied, putting on a posh royal accent. I giggled and rested my head upon his chest feeling as his arms wrapped warmly around me. "Thank you for coming to my rescue Dominic. That meant the world to me."

"Don't worry about it," he whispered, as I felt one hand gently slide down my back. "I'll always fight for you. What are friends for, right?"

"Yeah." I whispered quietly in response while closing my eyes. Swaying to the music I kept myself comfortable in his embrace, happy that I could be with him like this, at this time, in this place where I knew I was cared and loved for though I still couldn't tell or share that with him as my heart still didn't have the courage to do so. The music seemed to go on forever after that, which was a prospect I would have enjoyed greatly. For a while it seemed the gym only had the two of us, as if all others cleared out when we made our way onto the dance floor. We didn't say anything to each other, though nothing needed to be said. Not at that time anyway. When the music finally ended, Dominic pulled me off the floor and asked me,

"Want to get out of here?"

"Sure." I said smiling up at his masculine charm. "I'll go wherever you want to go. Though a trip to the diner sounds good." I then giggled out. "I'm craving a good burger for some reason."

"I could use one as well. Maybe if we tell a good story to Hap, he'll cook one for us at a discount," he laughed.

"He gives us discounts anyway! Plus he keeps telling us we're part of his retirement plan with all the money we spend there."

"Plus your penny whistle provides some good entertainment whenever the jukebox is broken," he said grinning as he led me out of the gym to our motorcycle.

"Well I don't have that with me tonight so you will have to do without." I said giggling again.

"Could you play me a serenade at another time then?"

"If you behave we'll see. But I'm not going to promise anything."

"What would you count as misbehaving?"

"I'm not going to say a word. Now let's go get that burger before my stomach starts eating itself."

"Sure thing" he said chuckling as we climbed into the motorcycle. He started up the motor while I was struggling to get into the sidecar. Needless to say, the engine wasn't cooperating tonight.

"Need me to kick it again?" I asked smirking confidently.

"I guess that wouldn't hurt," he muttered through his teeth, trying to hide his frustration. "Goddamn you, START!" The engine sputtered like an old man with a bad cough before going silent again. I sighed and carefully kicked it with my high heel in the usual spot that commonly worked for me. As usual, it worked like a charm and it started up perfectly. I could only laugh as Dominic quietly growled in frustration as he mounted the driver's seat. "She seems to like you more than me"

"Perhaps it's because your motorcycle is a woman at heart." I responded smirking up at him.

"If that's the case, she can be a real bitch," he replied as he pulled out of the parking lot and onto the main road.

"Hey be nice!" I laughed slapping his leg playfully. "Us girls are sensitive you know. You of all people should be aware of that by now."

"Yeah, yeah" he chuckled as we sped up.

The wind swept my hair to one side as we headed in the direction of downtown. I couldn't help but look up at him as he kept his eyes squarely on the road, never looking at me. How fitting, that for all the times we spent together, for all the time we knew each other, he still never looked at me the way I wanted him to. Though everything ended well beyond my expectations that night, I could have sworn I had seen a twinkle of light in his eyes while we were smiling and laughing at the diner during our late night rendezvous over two awesome burger baskets and two very satisfying chocolate shakes. "Well thank you for a wonderful evening Dominic. We will have to do it again sometime."

"Definitely," he said smiling as he led me to his apartment entrance. "Though I just hope that we don't have to deal with people like Grayson again."

"We go to school with him Dominic. We have to deal with him on a daily basis."

"Thankfully he's in none of our classes though. We just have to deal with Matthieu never knowing when to shut up."

"That's when we sick Hilda on him remember?"

"Yeah, that's true" he laughed as searched his pockets for the key to our flat. I tried hard not to laugh as he kept searching everywhere, growing more and more frantic in his efforts.

Still giggling I finally dug in and brought his spare key out of my purse. "Here, just use this before you lose your head."

"Without you, I would have lost my head a long time ago." And so the night was concluded with an opening of the door and our crossing of the threshold. And as I laid in bed that evening listening to the little radio I kept in my room whenever I stayed over, I closed my eyes and let myself drift off into a seamlessly endless dream that I'm positive left a smile on my face all night long.

It was several months later and finally coming upon the Christmas season. I was anxious to get Dominic a gift that would show him what he really meant to me as I was getting tired of not being able to convey my feelings. I think he was getting curious as to what was wrong with me also since I had been acting strange ever since December rolled in. But it was beautiful snowy day and all around me I could see people either smiling, hanging up their holiday decorations, or greeting each other with hugs and smiles. And along the way I would occasionally run into the random group of carolers that kept the streets entertained. But I was in a panic as I didn't know what to get my love and I only knew of one person to ask. Luckily for me I happened to have found him at the diner reading one of his favorite books again. "Renton! Thank god I found you!"

Renton, Dominic's best friend, the silent quiet boy who never bothered anyone and always seemed to be thinking of something, far away, looked up from his book. He parted that thatch of brown hair that was always hanging in his face and looked to me with melancholic green eyes. "Anemone Doolittle? What brings you here?"

"I've been trying to find you! I need your help on something!" Renton put away his book immediately and looked over to me with concern.

"Why don't you sit down and we can talk? I've ordered a malt, but I can make it double."

"Great!" I said immediately sitting down and taking off my coat. "I was freezing out there anyway though it is beautiful outside with all the snow."

"It's rare we even GET snow, considering how close we are to the sea. So, how is everything with you?" Renton smiled, as if my meeting with him was a good way to get his mind off something. For as long as I could remember him he always seemed hung up on something from his past, something he could never let go of no matter

"I really need your advice on something and you were the only person I could ask when it comes to dealing with your best friend. Oh, and I'm fine by the way." I giggled quickly answering his question.

"What do you need my help with?"

"I need to figure out the perfect Christmas present for him and I'm not sure what to pick out. I've been racking my brain but I'm at a standstill here!"

"Why don't you give him a soldier's field manual? You know how much he wants to go into the army."

"I don't want to do that though! It's the holiday season Renton! I want to take his mind away from things like that!"

"I'm just thinking about what he would like. I mean, he's already in Junior ROTC. Can't say I blame him with the attack on Pearl Harbor." Renton turned away from me, and I thought he was going to cry. But he inhaled deeply and faced me again as if to put up a strong front. Not that I needed one from him.

"Well? What do you think?" I asked nervously hoping he wasn't going to snap at me unconsciously.

"I think it's best you ask yourself what would you want from him. Then give him that. It always works for me when Christmas rolls around."

"Aww." I groaned. "I was hoping you would have had some ideas for me. Well maybe I can get him a nice watch or something."

"I heard him say something once about wanting a new pair of slacks," Renton muttered, obviously wishing he could be of more help.

"Well there's a reason why I want to get him something really nice this year." I admitted blushing as our malt arrived.

"Is that so?" he asked, raising an eyebrow at me in interest. "And that would be?"



"Do you know what love is?" At first, I thought he would just up and leave me, but he simply sat there, staring at me as if I asked him something in Greek. For what seemed like forever, he just sat there, before falling back onto seat, looking up at the ceiling and the fan circling above us. He seemed lost about something. "Umm…did I confuse you about something?" Renton shook his head, though his mood appeared to have soured with me asking that question.

"No, Anemone, I understood you completely."

"Well how come you didn't answer me then? I mean I'm really curious here. It's just that every time I am around Dominic I feel…well…happy, safe, and cared for."

Renton's mouth turned into a smile, but he still seemed lost in depression about something. "Just like how I always felt with Eureka three years ago" That's when I realized just what I had done. By asking that simple little question, I had opened a floodgate to something he had been trying so desperately to forget.

"You still keep in contact with her right?"

"Yeah, I do. Got a letter from her about a week ago, actually." His mind no longer appeared to be focused on my question, but rather on that girl he could never stop talking or thinking about. No matter how hard Dominic or I tried, he could never get his mind off her.

"Well how about you send her a present as well? I'm sure she would love to receive something during the holidays also."

"There's something I want to give her but I'd have to be there in Stalingrad to do it. I wonder what Stalingrad looks like in the snow? I should have stayed with them for the winter, and they'd have taught me how to have a snowball fight. Have a battle with Holland and Mikhail" He smiled fondly at his own musing, though I was secretly wishing he would stop pining and come back to here and now.

"Well either way, I'm sure she would love to get something from you."

"I know but I still…"At that moment, my worst fear came to fruition as I saw tears creep into his dark green eyes. I knew what was coming next.

"It's alright Renton." I said smiling at him. "I'm a girl so I know how it would feel to get a gift from someone who cares for them. And I bet I'm right when it comes to her as well." Renton looked at me, as if asking for clemency of a crime he had committed. Tears ran down his cheeks, and the flow didn't seem to stop even with my words.

"You're lucky, Anemone! At least you don't have someone you love living halfway around the world, in a country under attack! Dominic is right here, in town! He's not going anywhere!" I heard him sob as he buried his face in his hands.

"Send her your feelings." I whispered softly. "You don't have to tell her just yet, but I'm sure seeing how you feel will make things just that one bit easier on her."

Rubbing his back, I then said "And if you ever need girl advice, you can always come to me. You know how I tend to be right most of the time."

I just wish I just wish I could be there with her!" he said trying to fight through his tears. "I know how much she needs me right now! How much how much she wants to see me…how much she…" He didn't finish his thought, but instead turned to the ceiling and seemed to cry out to God, asking him why this was all happening. "Why did war have to come to her country!? Why couldn't she be born here, where she's safe?!"

"The world does cruel things sometimes. But that's why you have to make the attempt to make things better for her. Do you understand what I'm saying?"

"Yeah, I do," he sniffed, though I wondered if he really meant it. "I know what has to be done."

"Then do it. Make this holiday one that she'll never forget. Even if it does mean that you're far apart from each other. As long as your feelings reach her that is all that matters."

Renton sported a bright smile, even with all the tears in his eyes. Even though he didn't give me one word of advice about what love is, or what I can do to sort out my feelings with Dominic, he gave me what I needed. Watching him and his distant affair with a girl I've never seen and probably never will see gave me the strength I was desperately searching for.

"I have a lot of writing to do," he said quietly.

"Plus a gift to find and wrap as well I'm sure." I giggled out. "If you don't she might get upset with you."

"I wouldn't want that," he chuckled, his eyes finally dry. "Thanks Anemone."

"No, thank you." I said kissing his cheek. "I think you gave me the confidence to do what I need as well to show the person I love so much how I feel."

"But I didn't tell you a thing about love "

"You didn't have to." I said softly. "You showed me what it is. So you did your job without even realizing it."

"Well in that case," he said smiling. "Glad I could be of help."

"I'm glad I could help you too." I said smiling as a Christmas song started playing on the jukebox. "Hey, how about a holiday dance among friends?"

Renton laughed as he got up from his seat. "Sure, why not? I should warn you, though: I'm a terrible dancer."

"It's a slow dance." I giggled. "I'm sure you can handle it."

"I just hope so…"

"Renton trust me you're not as bad as you think. Just follow my lead." I said reaching his hand into mine as he helped me out of the booth. "Do that and you'll be perfect."

"If you say so, teacher," he laughed. "White Christmas," Renton said chuckling quietly as Bing Crosby's voice came over the jukebox. "How fitting."

"It's perfect." I whispered wrapping my arms around his neck while resting my head on his left shoulder. "Good for two friends who were needing each other."

"You better hope Dominic doesn't come in," he said quietly. "He might get the wrong idea."

"He's busy with other things today. I already talked to him this morning."

"What about?"

"He didn't divulge me with any details as he seemed quite busy over the phone. But I trust him as he does me and you so I'm not worried about anything."

"Suit yourself I suppose" As we gently traversed the ground of the diner, Renton whispered something in my ear that I thought for sure was just him musing again. But he said it with such seriousness I wasn't certain. "So how far have you gotten with him?"

"RENTON!" I just about screamed out. "Are you serious?!" And by this time my face was completely red and felt like it was on fire. "All we've done is hold hands and that's been it!"

"Sorry I asked" he said, cleaning out his left ear which I had shouted into. "I just thought you'd be farther along by this point. Especially considering how long you two have been friends now"

"Well he's been too blind to notice and I've been too scared and nervous to say anything." I admitted resting my head back onto his shoulder. Sighing tiredly I then said "Why does love have to be so complicated?"

"I wonder the same thing every day. At least you live in the same town with him. I'm hung up on a girl who's not even from my own country."

"Seems like we're both in a lovely mess aren't we?" I said giggling.

"You're in a lovely mess," he wistfully corrected me. "I'm just in a mess."

"You always have been a mess." I responded playfully teasing him. "And probably always will be."

"Don't remind me. At least I have friends like you and Dom to count on."

And the others too. Don't you dare leave them out or I will end up screaming into your ear as I chew your ass out."

"I've had my ass chewed out enough days at school, thanks" Renton just laughed and we broke apart as the music came to an end. He bowed slightly and said, "Thank you for the dance, Miss Doolittle."

"Thank you Mr. Thurston. We'll have to do this again sometime. I really enjoyed it."

"As did I." We went back to our booth, though I heard him mutter under his breath something that struck me.

"Next time I see her, I'll give her the best dance ever." Smiling at his seriousness and sincerity, I said "And I'm sure she'll enjoy every last moment."

"I just hope I'll see her again soon so she can see it herself."

"I'm sure you will. That I can promise."

He smiled, and ushered me back into our booth to finish off our malts. Even with my path clear and his objective laid out before him, he still didn't want me to go so soon after givin him newfound purpose. I obliged him and stayed with him through the day until he eventually found the strength to return home, and set out to fulfill his obligation to the one he loved most.

But that night as I sat in my room back at home, everything from my day still clear and vivid in my mind, I knew I as well I had found the inner strength to get out what I needed to tell my future love also. And with that in mind I set out to create the perfect chance to tell him. All of it starting out with the most amazing Christmas Eve night date I could have ever dreamed of.

It was a week before Christmas eve, and all the talk about town was the big holiday dance that was being held at the local community center. It was pretty much the most lavish event in town, though it also wasn't. Don't ask me to try to explain that as it would probably confuse you. But for the most part the community center was decked out in holiday decorations and regalia, right down to the tables and chairs. There was holiday fare galore for everyone to enjoy and feast upon. And all that attended usually showed up in their best suits, tuxes, and dresses. And I was right along with that plan. I had picked out the best form fitting dress that I could. And I made sure it was in Christmas red. That along with my hand gloves and shoes. I also picked up a simple green overcoat that had red buttons and a Christmas tree sewn into the left breast area. It looked so festive that I couldn't resist picking it up.

But anyway Dominic had asked me out on a date for that night, saying he had picked up two tickets to the dance. And those tickets were always hard to come by and could get expensive. But he insisted he wanted to take me out on a special night for just the two of us. And who was I to say no?! I took him up on the offer and told him he had better be ready because I was going to knock his socks off. And I did too for the moment he opened the door on that once again snowy night, I left him completely speechless. I made sure everything on me looked good. Right down to my hair which I had tied back into a ponytail to keep it out of my way for the evening. "Well…how do I look?"

"You look beautiful." he said smiling softly at me. It was once again when I felt my heart skip a beat at his smile, but it was also the way his eyes were looking at me that made my heart race at the same time. I swore if something didn't happen between us tonight I was going to end up having a heart attack! "You're going to knock them dead at the dance."

"Thanks." I finally managed to whisper out softly with a smile. "I think you'll do the same thing once all the girls see you."

"Well tonight is only about me and you. And it's going to stay that way."

"You promise?"

"Upon my honor Anemone. Nothing will come between us tonight."

True to his word he never left my side that night other than to use the facilities a couple of times. But during those five wonderful hours I was in complete heaven. Even Renton managed to show up in good faith of the holiday season. And he really looked good decked out in the suit his brother had given him the money for to get. "Wow…looking good Renton. I think you're the second most handsomest guy here."

"Yeah thanks Anemone." he said nervously. "Though I'm kind of nervous since I don't come to social gatherings all that much."

"Well did you come with anyone?"

"Yeah. I'm here with Jane. Strictly as friends though."

"Nothing wrong with that!" I said smiling. "Just make sure you show her a good time alright?"

"Will do Anemone."

"I didn't interrupt anything did I?" My date asked walking up to me from behind and wrapping his arms around my slender body.

"Not at all." I said cuddling into him. "So when do I get that first dance? I've been waiting anxiously all week for this."

"Well shall we go take that dance then?"

"Lead the way Dominic."

We danced multiple times that night. I was even allowed to share one with Renton and Dominic with Jane. To say I was a bit jealous was correct. But the way Jane and Dominic laughed and smiled at each other I could tell it was nothing more than friends and that it was going to forever stay that way. Same way went with me and Renton though we were a bit closer to each other. Which was pretty obvious since we danced the same exact way we did at the diner several weeks back. But we graciously handed each other back off to our respective partners and for that I couldn't have been happier for.

At one point during the night everyone was out on the dance floor dancing slowly as Frank Sinatra played in the background. I was one of the many who were holding their dates tight in their arms as we danced, my head resting against Dominic's chest while I listened to his heartbeat. "Hey, Dominic?"

"Yes Anemone?" he whispered back into my ear softly. I smiled keeping my eyes closed as we swayed to and fro to the music while I felt his hands tracing along my back.

"Thank you for such a wonderful evening. I don't think I could have pictured a date better than this."

"Well if I can do something that will make you smile, then to me it's worth all the effort in the world."

"To me it's going to be a memory that I'll remember forever." I then said looking up into his soft caring eyes. "I don't think I could ever forget a night like this."

"Well it's not done yet." he responded with a smile. "We're going for a short walk after this to the park that overlooks the city. I want us to spend a little more quiet time with each other if that's alright."

"Sounds like a perfect plan." I whispered back at him. Cuddling back into his chest we spent the remainder of the event close to each others sides, his hand always holding mine. And the longer he did that, the more cherished and loved I felt. And really led up to the most amazing moment of my life after we had reached the park.

It was probably close to midnight and it was still snowing at a pretty good pace, but it was still light enough to where we could see a good distance ahead of us so getting lost wasn't an issue thankfully. But instead of the park my love took us to a cliff that overlooked the city. And in awe I couldn't help but stare at the city lights below us. I figured we weren't going to be staying out too much longer as it was quite colder out than we had planned but this was the moment that was either going to make or break our lives together. I had to tell him how I felt or else everything I did for him tonight was going to be in vain. "Wow…it's so beautiful out here."

"It sure is isn't it?" my date said smiling as he stood next to me still holding my hand as he had been for most of the night. "It looks really amazing in the snow like this."

"It's just like a painting that nobody could ever imagine." I said softly while the snow continued falling around us. "Just like everything that we experienced tonight. I couldn't have dreamed up a better night than this. Especially since it was with you."

"What is that supposed to mean?" he then asked curiously while looking down at me. It was then that I knew this was the moment we, or at least I, was waiting for. "What I mean by that Dominic is…where do you see us in our relationship?"

"Our relationship? I mean…we're best friends aren't we?"

"Don't you think we've moved past that point Dominic?" I said softly. "You have been the only constant in my life that has never changed. We've grown up together, shared a lot of firsts together as children…and now…" I continued nervously as I felt my heart beating hard against my chest. "I think we're more than just friends. In fact…I know for a fact we are."


"Dominic." I said as tears threatened to fall from my eyes. "I love…no…I'm in love with you. I love everything about you and I was truly hoping you felt the same way I do."

"My sweet Anemone…" he whispered brushing a hand against my rose colored cheek. "of course I love you. I have for a very long time now."

"W…what? Really?"

"Of course. I was just afraid to say anything because I was scared of ruining our friendship."

"There's no way you would have." I said with tears now streaming down my face. "In fact, it would have made things so much easier to bear and burden instead of me having to have hid it all these years."

"Well you don't have to any longer." He said smiling. "I am now and always have been yours. And I'm hoping it'll be that way for many more years to come."

"That…my handsome Dominic…is one thing that I know I can promise you."

So once we were back in town I decided to stay the night at his flat due to the worsening weather…and the added fact that I didn't want to be home alone. But as he led me up to the doors that went to his building, I stopped him with a smile on my face. "Dominic, I think you're forgetting something."

"I am?" he responded confused. Giggling I just couldn't resist anymore. His cute charms, no matter how foolish they were, always seemed to melt my heart. So instead of saying anything I just stepped up and placed a soft gentle kiss to his lips and then said "Thank you for an amazing evening." and as he followed me inside, I knew in my heart that we now had a love story that was going to last for years to come.