It was close to Christmas and Deborah hadn’t anticipated on actually celebrating this year. Her family took off to the tropics to celebrate in a warm climate. They asserted that they needed a change from the normal tradition. Not Deborah however. She likes the cold because something about the frosty air makes it feel like Christmas to her. So she stayed behind. Christmas was nearing and it drove her mad. Of course, she could horn in on someone else’s Christmas, yet that wouldn’t feel right to her. She does know everyone in town and she’s sure they’d take her in a flash, but something about spending Christmas with loved ones just made it more special for her. This year her Christmas spirit was just dim, hell, nearly completely gone. She felt lost without her family. It even came to the point where she didn’t feel the need to decorate her home.
Deborah drove on the snow covered road through town. It was lit up splendidly for Christmas. The twinkle of the lights reflected in the windows to the little shops. Toys of various kinds were gathered in the display windows, enticing the children and egging them on to bug their parents to buy it for them. It was a small town, very few people, yet that never bothered her. It was pleasant how everyone was so tight knit with each other. They knew each others names and welcomed everyone with astounding smiles. This was one of the numerous things that made this small town enchanting. She drove past a small section of empty land. Well, not empty now. It was a Christmas tree stand. More like an outdoor shop. Each Christmas tree was beautiful, majestic and full. They were lined up superbly, it was distracting. Yet the man who waited for shoppers was…
“Oh shit!!!” Deborah shouted as she hammered on the breaks rapidly.
Deborah swerved to abstain from hitting a dog pursuing a cat into another snow covered field. She ended up plowing into a tree, causing her airbag to explode in her face. She wasn’t going too fast, yet fast enough to cause some damage to the front of her car. Once the air escaped, all she could do was sit panting heavily and completely dazed.
Suddenly, her door flung open and she was pulled out of her car. Deborah was leaned into the car while sitting on the chilly ground, still completely out of it.
“Are you okay?!” A man asked apprehensively, touching her face, neck, shoulders and hands wildly.
“I’m fine. A little dazed, but I’ll be fine.” Deborah rubbed her throbbing head.
Once this man came into unblurred sight, she couldn’t breathe. It was the man who had distracted her in the first place. Gosh, he was even more beautiful up close! Dark hair, glasses that surrounded emerald green eyes, faded tanned skin and a wonderful oval shaped face. He seemed rather tall, yet he was crouching, so it was difficult to determine. The hint of pink in his cheeks from the cold nipping at him was perfect. He helped her up, allowing her to put her weight on him to guide her up. Deborah lost balance on a patch of ice and slipped. He caught her before her knees could buckle more.
“I got you. I got you.” He said placidly.
His breath was visible from the cold air blending with it. Her eyes locked with his. She quickly peeled her eyes away from the sudden connection and attraction.
“Are you hurt? Do you need medical attention?” He was exceptionally concerned.
Deborah brushed herself off once he let go. The sound of her wool gloves brushing against her winter jacket had his attention. The townsfolk were watching and on standby, waiting for some signal to phone an ambulance.
“I’m fine. I’ll just be needing a tow.” She gestured to the car.
His eyes followed then went back to her. A delightful, delicate looking blonde with an elegant frame and adorable stature. Her eyes were an intriguing shade of Cognac brown. She grabbed for her phone and began calling the local tow service. She set out for the car to be reunited with her purse. All her valuable information was in it.
“Thank you. I’ll be waiting nearby.” Deborah said to the person on the other end.
She wiggled herself to generate more body heat. She rubbed her gloved hands together and immediately smiled at her savior.
“Thank you for tending to me.” She nodded sweetly.
“No problem.” He answered back. “I have to..” He pointed to his stand where customers waited.
“Oh, yes. Don’t feel like you have to be by my side. You have a business.” She excused him cordially.
He bowed quickly and scurried off. Deborah waited by her car for the tow service, which seemed like forever and a lifetime. Was the snow that bad that it caused traffic issues? She couldn’t help but take notice how sweet this man was, helping each family to locate their ideal tree. It was charming. Snow began to fall and cover the avenues once again. In any case, this man made this occurrence seem so exquisite, if that’s even a way to describe it.
He sold a good chunk of his trees before business for the day went dead. Deborah was still waiting for the tow truck. She hadn’t even noticed the man slipped away while checking the time on her phone. Deborah glanced all over, inquisitive as to where he went. He came into sight, holding two cups of a hot beverage. She smiled to herself as he headed her way.
“Thought you could use a hot beverage.” He said as he handed the foam cup to her.
Deborah gripped it with both hands and nodded slightly. She sipped it circumspectly. It was hot cocoa. It slid down and warmed her insides pleasantly.
“That’s a weird name for hot cocoa.” She chimed.
“Huh? Wha? No-” He furrowed his brows.
Deborah began laughing at his expression. She set her hand on his shoulder as she quieted down.
“I’m joking. I know, it’s your name, not the hot cocoa’s.”
Tony nodded and smiled as he returned to sipping on his cocoa.
“Mine’s Deborah.” She smiled.
They both drank down the cocoa as she waited for the tow truck. Time seemed to go faster now that she was preoccupied with an intriguing individual. They became acquainted with each other and carried on conversations.
“So you’re new here?”
“Sorta, huh? Well you’re either not or you are, you can’t be ‘sorta’”. She air quoted.
“My mom would take me here from time to time when I was little. She wanted to live here, but her occupation was demanding, so we were pretty much stuck in the city. What about you?”
“Me? Oh, I grew up here. So did my parents. We just don’t have the heart to leave this place. We have too many ties here to just up and leave. Plus, the people here are like family to us.” Deborah replied as she waved to Mary and her kids strolling by.
“I think I see the truck.” Tony pointed.
“Ah, yes. It’s about time.” Deborah blurted.
Tony shot her a confused look.
“Not that I wasn’t having fun. I was. Really. It was enjoyable.” She became flustered and spoke quickly. “Thank you. And I owe you.” She completed effortlessly.
“For?” He was puzzled.
“The hot cocoa.” She smiled.
Deborah waved bye and set out for the truck before allowing him a chance to reply. He chuckled to himself. He spun around and stationed himself back with his lot of trees. He watched her from his stand as she climbed into the cab of the tow truck.
Once in the tow truck, Deborah felt sad. She’d be returning to a forlorn house. No fun, no laughter, no nothing. It was rather disappointing. She looked out the window and watched as Tony appeared smaller and smaller with distance that grew.