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Christmas Fiction Romance

Recently Bill has been hinting about a very special Christmas present. After three years of dating, our relationship has reached the stage where I’m ready to get married and start a family. 

I put my favorite Christmas CD in the player, pull back the sheer curtains and watch the big, fluffy snowflakes descend on the grass and slowly accumulate. We’re goin to have a white Christmas! I smile as I recall white Christmases from my childhood...making a snowman with my brother...snowball fights with friends...sliding down the hill on a plastic tray my father brought home from the cafeteria at the hospital where he worked. The ringing of my doorbell jars me from my reminiscing. I take a quick glance at the table which is set for a romantic dinner.

Bill is standing outside my door with a bouquet of flowers and a box in his hands. “Hi, Honey.” He hands me the flowers. “I hope they didn’t get too cold...I parked as close as I could and made a dash to your door.” 

I take the flowers...a beautiful arrangement of red and white carnations. “Thank you, Bill. Let me put them in a vase with some warm water. Take off your hat and coat and warm yourself by the fire.”

We chit-chat about this and that while we eat the roast beef dinner I prepared for our third Christmas Eve together. Bill helped me clear the table and put the leftovers away. He has always been very thoughtful that way, which is one of his endearing qualities. He puts his arms around me and gives me a hug and a kiss. “Honey, leave the dishes for later. Let’s sit by the fire. I want you to open your present now.” 

I look at the boyish expression on his face and smile. “Okay.” He refills our wine glasses and I follow him into the living room.

Thoughts of an engagement ring are swirling in my head as I take the box, wrapped in red and gold Christmas paper, which Bill carefully hands to me. “Be careful honey, don’t shake it or flop in around.”

Now I’m more than curious. I hear something moving in the box. “Is it alive? Is it going to bite me?”

Bill’s smile reminds me of that famous Cheshire Cat. “No, it won’t hurt you,” he tries to reassure me.

Then I notice the holes which have been punched into the box. Of course they are too small to give me an inkling of what is inside, but now I’m sure that it isn’t a diamond ring. I slowly unwrap the present and open the lid. As I peer into the box, I see a bird. Has my boyfriend lost his marbles? “What is it?”

“It’s a partridge!” 

I’m dumfounded. “Like the partridge in a pear tree?”

“Yeah. I thought instead of a ham for Christmas dinner, we could have partridge. They’re good to eat...they taste like chicken.”

I look at the bird with the beautiful feathers, red beak, and red eyes, and then I look at Bill. “Are you serious?” I gently pick up the bird and feel it tremble in my hands. Then I notice its feet...they are red, too. “He’s beautiful!” I hold the bird close to my breast. “How could anyone kill and eat such a beautiful creature?”

“Partridges are game birds, Connie. They have been around for centuries...they are even mentioned in the Bible.”

“Well, I still don’t want you to kill it...nor do I want to eat it.”

“Honey,” Bill says, “you haven’t seen the rest of your present, yet”

“Do you have something else which is alive?”

Bill’s eyes light up as he laughs and shakes his head. “Look closely at the partridge.” I’m scared to frighten the trembling bird which I am trying to cuddle. Bill smiles and reaches for the bird. “Here, let me hold him.” I watch Bill turn the pretty little bird onto its back and as his red feet and legs pop up into the air I see an object on his leg. First I think it’s the customary band which many wild birds have to wear, but as Bill turns the metal band around I realize it’s a diamond ring. He carefully slides the ring off of the bird, puts the bird back into the box and asks, “Will you marry me?” 

I hug him and whisper in his ear, “Yes.” 

We seal our vow with more hugs and kisses before I ask, “What are we going to do with this partridge? We can’t eat this beautiful bird.”

“We? Bill teases. “It’s your bird, now. I’ll leave his fate up to you.”

“Bill,” I plead.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to butcher it? They are a delicacy.”

“No, he’s too pretty. I could never eat him.”

***

Dear reader, Now you know how I became the owner and caretaker of a beautiful red-legged partridge whose ancestors have roamed and been hunted throughout Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa. As I look at the colorful plumage I wonder how anyone can aim and fire a gun at these beautiful creatures.

***

I pick up the pretty partridge out of the box and cuddle it again. “He seems fairly tame. Where did you get him?”

Bill reaches across me and pets the bird. “It took me awhile to find him. Most of these game birds are wild and raised on farms where they are used for hunting. I finally found a couple who raise them on their little farm and keep them as pets. They handle all of them from the time they are hatched, so they are not flighty like their wild cousins. 

I run my hand over the soft feathers. “Is this as big as he’ll get?”

“I was told he is only about five months, so he’s still growing but won’t get as big as a chicken.”

I’m falling in love, for a second time. I look into Bill’s blue eyes. “Can I keep him?”

“Where? He can’t live in a box. You can’t keep him here, in your apartment.”

“How do you take care of a partridge? What do they eat?”

“I don’t know. I guess you only have two choices...eat him or turn him loose.”

We aren’t even married and I’m thinking about divorce. I open my mouth to speak, but Bill interrupts me. “There is another option.”

“What’s that?”

“I’ve already talked to my parents and they have agreed to keep...by the way what’s his name?”

I go with the first name that pops into my blonde head. “Pierre.”

Bill smiles his approval. “My parents have agreed to keep Pierre out at their farm until we are married.”

I want to hug Bill but Pierre is still in my arms so I lean over and give him a kiss. “I don’t believe in a long engagement.”

He pulled me closer to him. “Me neither.”

December 19, 2020 15:22

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10 comments

Chris Wagner
00:22 Dec 31, 2020

The story is very cute. I could see it maybe being part of a soap opera or something. The writing is good, nothing distracting with the English. The bit where you break the fourth wall didn't seem necessary, but ok, it kind of works. The only thing I can say is that if you want this to be something more than reader's digest, you'll have to add some dramatic conflict, didn't see a lot of it here. But other than that, it's an excellent piece of writing. Dialog and everything was good.

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Elizabeth Rogge
14:54 Dec 31, 2020

Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Although I’ve been around the world and here and there (for over 80 years), I have never taken a writing course and don’t know what you mean by, “break the fourth wall”. Well, I did grow up with the Reader’s Digest and I do like happy endings, but I feel restricted by the word count as to what I can do with the story. I guess I feel sorry for the judges and lean toward a 1000 rather than a lengthy 3000 words entry. Also, I do feel rushed to get it done and on to other things in my life.

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Chris Wagner
19:34 Dec 31, 2020

Fourth wall is whenever a story gets interrupted to address the reader or viewer directly. It happens a lot in tv shows. You should Google breaking the fourth wall to get a better explanation.

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Elizabeth Rogge
23:24 Dec 31, 2020

Thanks, I will.

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Chris Wagner
19:37 Dec 31, 2020

Sitcoms have sets with three walls, and an invisible fourth one where the camera and studio audience sits

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Elizabeth Rogge
23:25 Dec 31, 2020

Again, thank you.

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Frances Flynn
23:44 Dec 27, 2020

A well written story.

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Elizabeth Rogge
14:29 Dec 31, 2020

Thank you.

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Ann Crawford
23:25 Dec 26, 2020

I love it! A patridge...quite a unique gift. A good story.

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Elizabeth Rogge
13:47 Dec 27, 2020

Thanks. I had fun with it.

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