56 comments

Dec 26, 2020

LGBTQ+ Christmas Romance

๐“ก๐“ฒ๐“ญ๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“ฐ ๐“ฒ๐“ท ๐“ช ๐“ธ๐“ท๐“ฎ-๐“ฑ๐“ธ๐“ป๐“ผ๐“ฎ ๐“ธ๐“น๐“ฎ๐“ท ๐“ผ๐“ต๐“ฎ๐“ฒ๐“ฐ๐“ฑ.

The snow is soft and unbroken when I pull back the heavy curtains and peek out the window. I pull on my winter gear as quickly as possible, fighting the desire to make a snow angel in only my pyjamas. When I am finally bundled up and sheltered from the relentless gusts of wind creaking the windows, I open the door and walk outside.

There is something extremely satisfying about being the first person to wake up on a snowy morning. Being the first person to make a footprint in the blank canvas. It feels like the entire world changed into a mystical kingdom during the night.

I carefully pick up a handful of snow with my gloved hands and let it sift between my fingers. It is just the perfect consistency; fluffy and light, but wet enough to stick to itself. Perfect for making snowballs and snowmen.

I spot another trail of footprints, the only sign that Iโ€™m not completely alone. I follow them through the bare leafless trees, wondering who else would be up and outside already. At the end of path the answer to the mystery presents itself to me in the form of a lopsided snowman. Or, more accurately, the figure placing a knitted scarf around the creationโ€™s neck.

โ€œHey, Riella,โ€ Aria says, cheerfully pulling me into a clumsy hug, โ€œItโ€™s nice to see you here! I was worried you wouldnโ€™t be able to make it, you know, because of the icy roads.โ€

โ€œBy the time I got in the snow was already starting to sprinkle down. Good thing I started driving when I did.โ€ I tell her, thanking anyone out there listening for this piece of good luck.

I havenโ€™t seen any of my old friends or family in a while. The thing about living in a small town is you get restless. After being confined to the same area for so long, it feels less like home and more like a cage. By the time I got out of college, and had complete control over my life, I was desperate to be free.ย 

Traveling the world as a photographer is perfect for me, my dream job. It keeps me on my toes, living on the edge. But in the midst of all the excitement, I never noticed how long I spent away.ย 

Itโ€™s the people back home that felt my absence the most.

โ€œWant any help?โ€ I ask her, gesturing toward her project. She hands me a few jet-black buttons and I place them in a small curve to finish the mouth.

โ€œFinished!โ€ I declare, patting the snowman on top of his round head, โ€œHe looks almost lifelike.โ€

Aria just snorts in amusement, not believing me for a second.ย 

โ€œCome on,โ€ she says, pulling me away from the snowman, โ€œSince I barely ever get to see you, I planned something special for us to do!โ€

I follow her through the trees, panting as my heavy boots drag up the steep incline of the hill.ย 

โ€œWhere are you taking me?โ€ I ask her, curious, but she just shakes her head and continues on the way.

When we arrive at the top of the hill, a sleigh is waiting on the empty street. The manes of the pure white horses dance in the wind, while the bells around their necks jingle to a holiday tune.ย 

She offers me her hand as we step inside and take a seat. I didnโ€™t know they still had people that drove around sleighs pulled by horses, let alone ones that you could rent for the day. A thick blanket is draped over our lap as the horses take off at a steady pace.ย 

โ€œWow. This is definitely a surprise!โ€ I say to Aria, โ€œItโ€™s so beautiful!โ€

โ€œI hoped you would think so. I wanted to take you on a little adventure of our own.โ€ she says, overjoyed by my response.ย 

We ride in silence for a little bit, enjoying the quiet serenity of the snowy morning. The sleigh glides smoothly along the surface, leaving a long, winding track behind it.

Aria then turns to me, shifting in the small seat to better look me in the eyes. The shift in the mood is difficult to overlook, one moment we are cheerfully laughing and the next she stares at me with a serious look.

She reaches into the deep pocket on the inside of her coat and pulls out a small box. It is a velvety and the color of the deep ocean. The corners are rounded and it sits perfectly in her hand.

She flips open the top revealing a sparkling diamond ring. Thin strands of sparkling metal are weaved together to form a beautiful pattern.

โ€œRiella, please marry me,โ€ she asks, her voice filled with ephemeral hope, โ€œI donโ€™t want to spend another second apart.โ€

I open and close my mouth, not knowing what to say in response to this unexpected question. I donโ€™t want to crush her dreams, but I donโ€™t see a way not to. I love her, I spent the best memories I have with her, but I still have places to go.

โ€œIโ€™m sorry, that was impulsive,โ€ she says before I can speak, obviously sensing my response wonโ€™t be what she wished for, โ€œI just donโ€™t know when Iโ€™ll see you again.โ€

โ€œI promise Iโ€™ll be back by Christmas Eve next year.โ€

โ™กโ™กโ™ก

๐““๐“ฎ๐“ฌ๐“ด ๐“ฝ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ ๐“ฑ๐“ช๐“ต๐“ต๐“ผ ๐”€๐“ฒ๐“ฝ๐“ฑ ๐“ซ๐“ธ๐“พ๐“ฐ๐“ฑ๐“ผ ๐“ธ๐“ฏ ๐“ฑ๐“ธ๐“ต๐“ต๐”‚.

Now, two years from the day we both hoped to move past, Aria and I are hanging wreaths and stockings in her house. To us, Christmas just isnโ€™t the same without festive decorations. Her home is looking more and more fit for the holidays with every red, green, or white item we hang.

Aria holds one end of the twisted strand of lights as I dance around the tree, wrapping it in tiny, golden spheres. Christmas carols play in the background as we sing along to them under our breaths.

Aria has baked a plate of chocolate gingerbread cookies that we snack on along with mugs of steaming hot chocolate. It is the perfect Christmas scene.

Well, until she drags up the topic I thought we agreed to put in the past. The topic that still hangs over us, a constant reminder of what could have been.

โ€œPlease donโ€™t return to your travels in the new year. I want you to do what makes you happy, but why donโ€™t you want to stay? We could be happy, start a life together.โ€

All I want is to change the subject, so I donโ€™t have to tell her I am still leaving when the holidays end. But I feel I owe it to her, after all the pain I have put her through, to be honest.

โ€œI wish I could, but the more time I spend here the more suffocated I feel. I have to see the world, it has always been my dream.โ€

Aria just nods, no anger or disappointment clouding her soft features. She was always the understanding one. The selfless one, giving up her dreams so others could have theirs.

Itโ€™s too bad it seems I'll never be able to pay her back. Iโ€™m not the nice one, thatโ€™s why I walk out of the room, fleeing this uncomfortable topic.

It seems all I have been able to do is bring us both down.

โ™กโ™กโ™ก

๐“ก๐“ธ๐“ฌ๐“ด๐“ฒ๐“ท' ๐“ช๐“ป๐“ธ๐“พ๐“ท๐“ญ ๐“ฝ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ ๐“’๐“ฑ๐“ป๐“ฒ๐“ผ๐“ฝ๐“ถ๐“ช๐“ผ ๐“ฝ๐“ป๐“ฎ๐“ฎ.

I return to my small hometown, and Aria, the following year. Hoping against the odds that we can spend Christmas Eve happily ignoring what happened past years.

Hoping Aria wonโ€™t ask me to marry her again.ย 

I knock on her decorated front door, my hand tapping nervously at my side. When she opens it and sees me, she pulls me into a warm embrace.

I step through the front door, already feeling more at ease the moment the scent of fresh evergreen meets my nose. When I am out on my travels, I always look forward to spending the holidays here.

Inside her familiar home, carols radiate within the walls. Spreading Christmas spirit. I smile softly, glad to be drinking in the sight once again.

โ€œThe place looks the same as usual,โ€ I say, smiling fondly.

โ€œIt must look drab, compared to all that you have seen, but itโ€™s cozy.โ€ Aria says, shifting her feet awkwardly.

โ€œNonsense, this is perfect.โ€ I assure her, grinning as I hang my dripping coat on a hook by the door.ย 

She fetches the remote from the television stand and turns up the music. I grin as I hear the song playing,ย  โ€œAll I want for Christmas is you,โ€ one of my favorites.

Aria gently takes my hand and pulls me toward a cleared area beside the Christmas tree. Our sock feet softly tap on the hardwood floor as we spin around happily. In this moment, all the burdens of our jobs and relationship are lifted, leaving behind only carefree cheer.

That is for a few joyous minutes, until Aria breaches the poisonous topic between us.

โ€œPlease tell me you want to stay by my side, Riella. Please marry me.โ€ Aria pleads, her voice sounding more desperate than usual.

I just shake my head sadly, not having the energy to put my rejection into words. I told myself I would spend my time traveling from one distant place to another. It feels wrong to stay in here. The timing just isnโ€™t right.

โ€œI just donโ€™t understand why Iโ€™ll never be enough for you,โ€ Aria says, looking close to tears. I want to tell her that isnโ€™t true, that she is everything to me, but I donโ€™t get the chance.

This time she is the one who walks out of the room, not looking back.

โ™กโ™กโ™ก

๐“Ÿ๐“ช๐“ผ๐“ผ ๐“ช๐“ป๐“ธ๐“พ๐“ท๐“ญ ๐“ฝ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ ๐“ฌ๐“ธ๐“ฏ๐“ฏ๐“ฎ๐“ฎ ๐“ช๐“ท๐“ญ ๐“ฝ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ ๐“น๐“พ๐“ถ๐“น๐“ด๐“ฒ๐“ท ๐“น๐“ฒ๐“ฎ.

A year later, Aria asks to meet me in a small cafe back home on Christmas Eve.ย 

I have begun to look forward to our holiday get-togethers the entire year, while I am gazing up at the Eiffel Tower, lounging in mountain-top lodges, and trekking through tropical rainforests.

My trips back home are a welcome break from living so intensely.

When I push open the rattling door of the coffee shop, I am hit by the strong smell of pumpkin chai lattes. Aria is seated at a small wooden table by the window, gazing out at colorful lights hung across the street. When she sees me she enthusiastically waves and I wave back smiling.

I make only one stop, to order hot chocolate with as much whipped cream and marshmallows as possible, before sitting down at her table.

โ€œIt feels like forever since I last saw you,โ€ Aria muses after we have exchanged pleasant greetings.

โ€œI wish I could come more often,โ€ I agree, โ€œTime just passes so fast for me when Iโ€™m out traveling.โ€

She glares down at the grounds in her empty coffee cup like she is trying to predict my fortune.ย 

โ€œSomething wrong?โ€ I ask, praying my lack of commitment is not the thing upsetting her.

โ€œSometimes I wish your dream wasnโ€™t to travel the world. I wish you would be perfectly content having a simple job.โ€ Aria says, disappointment lacing her voice.

Iโ€™m not sure what to say. The truth is, sometimes I wish the same exact thing. I often wish I didnโ€™t feel suffocated after staying in one place for too long.

โ€œDo you really have to leave the moment the new year begins. Canโ€™t we spend the spring and every other season together?โ€ย 

There is still hope in her question, even after so many rejections, but it is dimming.

โ€œI wish I could stay.โ€ I tell her.

โ™กโ™กโ™ก

๐“ฆ๐“ช๐“ต๐“ด๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“ฐ ๐“ฒ๐“ท ๐“ช ๐”€๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“ฝ๐“ฎ๐“ป ๐”€๐“ธ๐“ท๐“ญ๐“ฎ๐“ป๐“ต๐“ช๐“ท๐“ญ.

Years from the day Aria first proposed, I find myself walking through a snowy landscape by her side. The snow is the perfect height, thick enough to cover all signs of fall, but thin enough that we can easily walk through in our heavy boots.

I catch her beaming at me from under her thick scarf as we walk, and I find myself smiling wide in return. No matter what happened previous years, Iโ€™ve discovered that I am never anything but happy in her company.

As the sidewalk winds toward the park, we find ourselves under a roof of sparkling holiday lights. They are strung from light post to light post, creating a tangled, beautiful mess.

We pause beneath a large evergreen tree, its boughs bent down to the ground under the weight of the snow. The needles form a blanket around us.

Aria takes my cold hands in her own soft mittens. She glances down at our linked fingers, then back up at my face.

โ€œIt seems pointless now, after having been told no so many times, but I canโ€™t give up without trying one last time.โ€ she tells me, fidgeting nervously with something inside her pocket.ย 

She then pulls out the same small, velvety box from the first time we took a sleigh ride together.ย 

โ€œRiella, I love you and I want to spend every last second of my life with you. Every Christmas Eve when you come back home, it is the happiest day of my life. Please marry me.โ€

I freeze in place, as still as the icicles that have been forever present on every ledge of every building in town. Every time she asked me to stay in the past, I felt it wasnโ€™t possible for me to linger in one place. But now, after having traveled relentlessly for years, I want nothing more than to settle with Aria.

I hate how her face falls at my delayed reaction, expecting me to reply by saying she wasnโ€™t enough to make me want to stay. She didnโ€™t deserve to be treated the way I treated her, all I can do now I start making it up to her. Starting with the wordsโ€ฆ

โ€œYes.โ€

I spent so much time traveling to the ends of the world, hoping that I would find happiness in some faraway, exotic place. When all along, I was pushing away the one person who brought me true joy. Iโ€™m done doing that, itโ€™s time for change.

I could search the ends of the Earth, but I will never find a place like home.

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56 comments

Maya Emerson
03:47 Dec 26, 2020

Thanks so much for reading! I don't write romance much, so please tell me what I can improve. :)

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Such a beautiful story! I can't believe you've never wrote this genre before! So great Maya! :)

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Maya Emerson
17:35 Dec 26, 2020

Aw, thank you so much! That means so much to me! :)

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Hi there, Maya! Since you liked my story, I decided to check out one of yours. The way you wrote this was wonderful, and at the end it was really sweet. You could've turned it really sad by having Riella say no to Aria again (I love those names, by the way), but instead you made it a happy ending that I really enjoyed. Also, I read your bio--you're open to doing a collaboration? I haven't done one before so I'd have to figure it out, but I'll do one with you! Your fellow Reeder, Brooke D. <3

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Maya Emerson
16:36 Dec 29, 2020

Thanks so much, Brooke! I usually give my stories happy endings, so I'm glad you liked it. I've only done a few collabs before, but I would love to try one with you next week! :)

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You're so welcome! Okay! How did you do it before?

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Maya Emerson
16:42 Dec 29, 2020

The first collab I did was actually with my brother who is also on Reedsy, so that was easier. :) But then for the collab I'm doing this week, we have a doc with the settings changed to "anyone with the link can view" then one of us posted the doc link in a comment and deleted the comment afterward.

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Urm... Did you guys have to give each other like your email or anything?

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Maya Emerson
16:54 Dec 29, 2020

No, we didn't do that for online safety reasons. I think the person who made the doc has their name visible but the other person is anonymous unless they comment. I think that way is probably easier, but if you're not comfortable with that we could always just plan it out in comments on Reedsy.

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Radhika Diksha
03:05 Dec 29, 2020

U wrote it completely different when compared to the other writers. Nice thought and storyline. I loved the plot and the character build-up. Keep writing. If you wanna collab I would be happy to work with you.

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Maya Emerson
03:17 Dec 29, 2020

Thanks so much for the feedback, Radhika! And, sure, I would love to collab with you! :)

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Radhika Diksha
03:19 Dec 29, 2020

ok tell me when you want and how do we proceed together. Can I ask you a favor?

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Maya Emerson
03:32 Dec 29, 2020

Maybe we could work together next week? Sure, you can ask. :)

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Radhika Diksha
05:37 Dec 29, 2020

could you upvote me few points. I will do it for you too.

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Maya Emerson
05:39 Dec 29, 2020

Yes! I'm always willing to support other authors! :)

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Maya Emerson
05:57 Dec 29, 2020

I upvoted you about 100 points. :)

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Michael Boquet
04:09 Dec 31, 2020

You certainly know how to paint a word picture. Careful not to get carried away though. Toward the end: "Aria takes my cold hands in her own soft mittens. She glances down at our linked fingers, then back up at my face." Great sentences, but how can two characters link fingers if one is wearing mittens? This is a well written story but I'm super confused about your characters. Are the ladies dating but Riella just doesn't want to get married? What about Riella makes Aria pine after her for years? What led to them having such a strong relat...

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Maya Emerson
04:16 Dec 31, 2020

Thanks for the honest feedback, those are some good points. I'll just start by saying that I don't write romance ever really, so I'm not surprised if the character's relationship could be confusing. First, as far as the mittens, thanks for pointing that out. I completely overlooked it. :) As for Riella and Aria's relationship, I imagined that they were close friends that have mutually liked each other for a long time, but they can't have a relationship because Riella won't commit to it. I probably should have conveyed that better. Thanks for...

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Michael Boquet
04:24 Dec 31, 2020

You're welcome. I did enjoy it. Happy New Year to you too!

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Maya Emerson
04:25 Dec 31, 2020

Thank you!

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Akshaya Sutrave
06:57 Dec 29, 2020

Hi Maya! Wow, such an amazing story! I love the imagery of the snow and the scene building! The italicized text in bold after each section break was really innovative! Your story gave a new perspective to this prompt. It's so well written even though you don't write romance so often. Great job and keep writing!

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Maya Emerson
15:42 Dec 29, 2020

Thank you so much for the feedback, Akshaya!

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Akshaya Sutrave
08:41 Dec 30, 2020

Of course! :)

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Hi Maya! Wonderful story! Def touching, you're really good at this genre. Keep up the good work! We can even work together:) Happy new year in advance!

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Maya Emerson
00:31 Dec 29, 2020

Thanks so much, Varsha! I would love to work with you on a collab sometime. Happy New Year to you, too! :)

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Maya Emerson
00:45 Dec 29, 2020

Definitely! I'll check out your stories as soon as I get the chance. :)

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Vibes Blossom
05:54 Feb 18, 2021

That was a lovely story! I loved the idea that the same person proposed her but in different years.

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Maya Emerson
23:46 Feb 18, 2021

Thanks!!

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Amel Parvez
15:28 Feb 03, 2021

Brilliant and cuteโ™ฅ

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Maya Emerson
15:37 Feb 03, 2021

Thanks! :)

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Amel Parvez
15:52 Feb 03, 2021

Anytime <3

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Maya Emerson
15:53 Feb 03, 2021

<3 :D

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Amel Parvez
15:54 Feb 03, 2021

:)

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Alright, Maya! It's time for the collab! To start off, I think we should do the prompt that says: "Write about two characters who each want to change the same thing, but resolve to go about it in very different ways." That way you can do one character, and I can do the other. And, also, maybe the thing they need to change is how they see other people. So, one of the characters decides to leave the house a lot more and get to know people in the town. Maybe she'll/he'll then understand people better, and not be so judgemental. Then the other c...

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Maya Emerson
04:04 Jan 02, 2021

Sorry I'm late responding to this, I didn't have a chance to go on Reedsy all day. I think that is a wonderful idea!!! You thought of it so quick! I'm so excited for the collab! For the planing would you maybe like to go on one of mine or your older stories so people are less likely to see it? :)

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It's okay! Oh, yay! I'm glad you like it. Yeah, sure. That's a good idea. We can go to my oldest story. I believe it's called Forest People. :) I'm so excited for this collab, too!

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Maya Emerson
16:32 Jan 02, 2021

Okay! We can start planning whenever you want! I'm going to upvote you now because Luke said you got downvoted sometime recently. :)

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Aw, thanks so much! It means the world to me!

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Maya Emerson
19:32 Jan 02, 2021

You're welcome!

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22:28 Dec 28, 2020

Oh my gosh, this is such a great story! I can't believe I didn't comment on this yet! Anyway, I usually don't read romance because I'm honestly not a fan of the genre, but you made this story so beautiful, like, some professional writers need to take inspiration from you. This is the best romance story I've ever read, and for a person who doesn't like romance, well, I read a lot of it :) Loved the different sections and unique storyline. Great job!

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Maya Emerson
22:33 Dec 28, 2020

Aww, thank you so much! That made my day! :D I wasn't really sure what people would think of it because I don't usually write in this genre, but I'm really glad you enjoyed it! :)

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