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Christmas Friendship Romance

Too-Cute Magic


Chrissy Merriman stepped out onto the small balcony off her upstairs bedroom in the stately Victorian home she shared with her grandmother. She hugged her warm, cozy bathrobe around herself as she gazed into the dark winter sky searching for the peace eluding her this starless, cloudy night that held promise for more snow to grant a white Christmas. Chrissy felt lighter than air unsure if she would ever come down to earth again after the unexpected embrace and out of this world kiss from Mr. Kool himself.

A brief time before she'd impulsively kissed him on the lips herself when he seemed to solve the dilemma of the mysterious five-year-old, Carlson, she'd been in charge of for the past two nights. He took full advantage of the opportunity and delivered his own passionate kiss back to her reluctant to release her once he held her tightly in his arms. It felt so... so right. To both of them.

But her Nana entered the living room carrying the tea tray breaking the magic of the moment. “Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt. I'll sit this down and be out of your way.”

“No, no need to worry, Ma'am. I can't stay. Only wanted to deliver that little seed of information. Maybe it will help you locate the child's parents. Can't imagine how that little boy must be feeling. His Grandpa suddenly passing away and no one knowing where his parents went after leaving him in the old man's care for two weeks. The child is so lucky the two of you were in his company when it all happened at the restaurant. What would have happened if he were all alone in some forsaken apartment when his grandparent was stricken with a heart attack? Does a five-year-old know how to call 911 or how to work a cell phone that takes a password to get into? Did he know any neighbors?”

“Probably not since the gentleman recently moved back to this area. Hadn't even changed his address on his ID yet. We don't know where the apartment is yet to get some more of Carlson's things. Maybe won't be necessary now you may have helped us find his parents or at least know who they are. Thanks again.” Chrissy humbly peaked up at him somewhat embarrassed by her reactions.

“Chrissy, believe me, the pleasure has been mine and I believe we have some unfinished personal business to discuss another time once we get Carlson resettled with his folks. I really took a shine to the little guy sledding with him in the snow today and it was fun playing family man, something I have always wanted for myself.” He tilted her chin up to catch his gaze and pecked a sweet kiss on her forehead. “We'll talk again, soon.” Then her fellow teacher, Russell Koolridge, took his leave out the front door.

The astonished fifth-grade teacher tried to calm her pounding heart. What had just happened? Why had she thrown herself into her nemesis' arms making a complete fool of herself? The man had always been insufferable to her reminding her she would likely never have a romance novel published but he had successful YA fantasies on bookshelves everywhere. Yet... he seemed genuinely thrilled with the kiss himself.

“Oh, Nana, I made such a fool of myself!”

“Now, I don't think for one minute that man thought you were a fool. Seemed he was very much enjoying the interaction himself. Besides, a little romance may be exactly what you need to inspire the finish to that wonderful manuscript you've worked so hard on. And now we know this child's mother is most likely the famous publisher, Nora Conover, you may have an inside route to follow. We'll have a busy day tomorrow helping the authorities find those folks. Better get some beauty sleep.”

But sleep would not come easily to Chrissy this night. They were so close to solving the mystery of little Carlson. Could his parents be famous! Plus the wonderment of this new feeling towards Russell left her bewildered. Her lips still tingled from his hungered exploration. Her body betrayed her logical rejection of this formerly disgusting man and yearned for his touch once again. Boy, was she in trouble!

She shuffled back inside getting out of the cold and tried refocusing on her novel plot to maybe come up with that elusive perfect ending. If she weren't such a perfectionist maybe she would have finished this long ago. Now it was crunch time. She wanted to enter the manuscript into a contest closing the end of the year. Let's see, so far...

Her female protagonist wakes up in a strange expensive resort hotel room with an exquisite wedding gown hanging before her. Trouble is she has no recollection of planning a wedding or who she would be about to marry if this is indeed her gown and when would this wedding take place? She can't even remember her name or how she got to this place...

This short term memory loss caused by a bump on the head leads her on a search for the truth about her breakup with her long-time sweetheart. She returns to her hometown's Christmas celebration and rediscovers the person she used to be, what matters most and that a Christmas miracle can bring back love thought lost forever...

Luckily, the excitement of the previous day did cause little Carlson to sleep in a little later the next morning allowing Chrissy to finally get some restful sleep herself. Resourceful Nana was already on the case and had authorities on the elusive trail of parents believed to be separated because of a comment made by Carlson how he took his backpack with him when he went to his Dad's place.

However, after much speculation, backtracking and problem solving only a professional sleuth the caliber of Mike Dodge would be capable of, the parents, Douglas Conover, manager of his beautiful wife's, Nora Conover, illustrious career in the publishing field, were found together vacationing in their coastal hometown enjoying the Christmas celebrations.

When two local police department members brought the relieved parents to Nana's and Chrissy's large home they found Carlson and Russell making snow angels in the front yard in the newly fallen pristine snow. A snow covered Carlson jumped up to run into his mother's arms. “It's all right, Mamma. I know you must be sad but Grandpa went to live with Jesus like he always wanted. To be back together with Grandma. But I can take care of you now you aren't lost anymore.” He patted her on her back reassuringly.

Douglas pumped Russell's hand. “Thank you so much for taking care of our little man.”

“Well, it wasn't me but those two fine ladies on the porch. He has been putting me through some paces. He must wear you out.”

“Oh, oh, definitely full of energy this one is.”

Once everyone was inside Nora said, “Thank you, Ladies, so much for going out of your way to care for our boy. There will never be anyway we can ever repay you. That is, of course, unless you have a book you want to publish. Then don't be afraid to ask.” She ended with a chuckle and handed Chrissy a business card for Conover Square publishing.

“Hey, I'll take Carlson upstairs to dry off and collect his things while you talk.” Russell offered.

“He's been a pleasure.” Both Nana and Chrissy answered together.

“It just so happens Chrissy's been working on a manuscript so may take you up on your offer.” Nana added.

“Oh, that's not what is important right now. Will you let us know about funeral arrangements for your father? So sorry for your loss. Nana knew him years ago. Carlson has been very brave through all of this. More worried about you than himself. He's an amazing child. It's been a too-cute mystery trying to locate his family.

“It's not our business but something Carlson said made us believe the two of you were no longer together. But the officers said you were found in the same place.” Chrissy pried.

“We did have a legal separation. I left him with my Dad so we could take these two weeks to rediscover ourselves a bit. We're long-time sweethearts. We went back to our hometown's Christmas celebration searching for the truth about why we would ever want to leave each other. We once again know who we are, what matters most and that a Christmas miracle like the one you made happen can bring back love one thought was lost forever.” Nora smiled at up at her husband as he nodded in agreement.

“Dad was looking forward to a big Christmas Day with his grandson. Carlson seemed excited about it, too. We are so in shock about what happened and grateful caring people like you were with him.” Tears glistened in her eyes.

Russell carried Carlson down the stairs on his shoulders. When he lowered the bundle of energy the tyke hugged him around his knees and exclaimed, “It was cool flying down the hill with you Mista Cool.”

Then he tugged on Nana's apron until she bent to his level and he whispered in her ear, “Thank you for finding my Mommy and Daddy. You're a good detective. I missed them so much!”

Chrissy knelt before him and he squeezed tightly around her neck as he gave her a kiss on the cheek, “I can go back to my own room at my house now but thank you for making the space room. Hope I can come visit it again sometime. Is it okay I left my toothbrush in it? Glad we could make gingerbread houses and find the raining rainbows.”

“You may come back to visit whenever your parents let you. We'll be happy to see you again. This is a picture I took of the Northern Lights we discovered. Do you want to keep it or display it in your room upstairs so its here when you come back?”

She picked him up and turned toward the parents, “We really hope you will let him come visit again sometimes.” She handed him to Douglas.

“Of course. It's obvious he's made lasting friendships here. He can come back anytime. We don't live far away,” assured Nora. “Thanks again for all you have done.”

“You two remember to keep what is important so you don't lose your love. We have rediscovered our old flame and don't intend to let it flicker out again.” Douglas said to Russell as he swung Carlson up to his shoulders. Then he bent to kiss his wife as they ducked out the door. Everyone waved their so-longs as they wished each other Merry Christmas.

Russell turned toward Chrissy as she looked up at him and they embraced for a magical kiss.

Exactly the Happily Ever After her story needed and the start of a promising new life.



January 07, 2024 00:16

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34 comments

Annie Persson
12:14 Jan 26, 2024

Love the happy ending! (To her novel and in real life!) :)

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Mary Bendickson
16:10 Jan 26, 2024

Thanks for liking.

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Annie Persson
20:41 Jan 26, 2024

👍

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Mary Bendickson
21:41 Jan 26, 2024

🙏

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Kailani B.
02:55 Jan 15, 2024

This has been a much better story than some Hallmark movies I've seen. Good work!

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Mary Bendickson
06:47 Jan 15, 2024

What a nice compliment. That's what I was trying for. Thank you

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John Rutherford
19:01 Jan 12, 2024

With the children's genre. I write a series of stories, which could be expanded later, if necessary, based on a main theme or concept. I call them brands or concepts. For example, one brand named Madooree has a concept of theatre to the whole storyline, classical characters played out on a stage, or a cartoon dimension. Simple poems and rhymes to summarize the story. I have created 4 brands already, but for the children's genre I will stick that principal.

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Mary Bendickson
19:38 Jan 12, 2024

Best of success.

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John Rutherford
18:08 Jan 12, 2024

I'm more than halfway through my book now, hopefully finish it up in early spring. But I already have 4 children's brands, first in the series only self-published. My biggest dilemmas right now are marketing, advertising. I still haven't spent a penny, and I do like the writing, research, editing and polishing, but I don't like the rest of it.

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Mary Bendickson
18:50 Jan 12, 2024

I hear you about the marketing and advertising. Reedsy is the only social media I participate in so I don't have a lot of influencing power. Afraid my self publishing would be dismal. Not sure what you refer to as 'brands'. Different story lines, topics? I lucked out winning a contest. That has been the only money I have spent so far.

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Michał Przywara
21:36 Jan 10, 2024

And now the story is complete :) It's neat - serendipitous? - that the Conovers are having exactly the kind of romantic story that Chrissy is trying to write. Though, it looks like she has her own now for inspiration too. A happy ending all around, considering the grim beginning :)

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Mary Bendickson
00:37 Jan 11, 2024

Thanks for catching that. But now Nora may think her story copied their life even though Chrissy had written it first.

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Michelle Oliver
04:05 Jan 10, 2024

Too cute. I have enjoyed following this story.

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Mary Bendickson
04:38 Jan 10, 2024

Thank you so much.

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Rebecca Lewis
01:30 Feb 26, 2024

This story has a lot of heart and warmth to it! I enjoyed the way you tied up all the loose ends and brought the characters together in a satisfying resolution. The pacing was good, and the dialogue felt natural. It's great to see how relationships developed and evolved throughout the narrative. Overall, it's a charming and uplifting tale. Great job!

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Mary Bendickson
03:46 Feb 26, 2024

Thank you for the heartwarming comment and the follow.

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02:07 Feb 03, 2024

Just lovely. Enjoyed all the stories about Chrissy, Nana and Carlson.

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Mary Bendickson
04:23 Feb 03, 2024

So happy you liked the stories.

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Martin Ross
22:25 Jan 27, 2024

🤣 Mike and I are so honored!! A lovely, lovely holiday story, and told with such charm. SO much better written and textured than Hallmark stuff! Cool spin on the literal meet-cute, and the sweet ending really made me smile.

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19:09 Jan 15, 2024

Awww shucks lol this turned into a lovely romantic series didn't it? Could totally make a movie script out of this one and sell it too! Just really wholesome lovely stuff :)

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Mary Bendickson
19:28 Jan 15, 2024

Now if I only knew how to do what you suggested. Love the idea. Thanks for the like and comment.

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Jonathan Page
16:20 Jan 14, 2024

Very heartwarming Christmas tale!

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Mary Bendickson
18:53 Jan 14, 2024

Thanks for liking and commenting.

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13:41 Jan 13, 2024

This is a very sweet story. I was told to go through my manuscript and cut back and clean it up - some sentences are complex and wordy and it breaks the flow. one "peak" instead of peek - that was probably autocorrect.

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Mary Bendickson
17:41 Jan 13, 2024

Think you are right about that. Already approved so can't correct.

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John Rutherford
18:03 Jan 12, 2024

Well done.

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Mary Bendickson
18:36 Jan 12, 2024

Thanks

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John Rutherford
09:10 Jan 12, 2024

Is this part of the Western book, or another? I just noticed you were celebrated recently, Well done, Mary.

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Mary Bendickson
17:58 Jan 12, 2024

Thanks for liking. This is not part of the Western book. It is the final in a series of four that has been my attempt at a Halmark Christmas story. All start with Too-cute. In August the first fifty pages of my western story won the medal for Best Western at Killer Nashville writers conference for crime and thriller unpublished manuscripts. The complete manuscript is in the hands of a publisher I met at the conference awaiting a decision if they will publish. See "Thank you, Nashville". Lots to celebrate for me. Most of the fifty pages are ...

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09:34 Jan 07, 2024

There's no other way to describe these stories - they're just too-cute! Happily Ever Afters all round, there's no nicer end this could possibly 😊 Quick typo catch - 'how to work a cell pone that takes a password to get into?'

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Mary Bendickson
18:03 Jan 07, 2024

Thanks for the like and the catch. Patricia must have been trying to respond to me.

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12:52 Jan 07, 2024

Thank you so much!! You're comments keep me hopeful. Ox

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13:47 Jan 07, 2024

I'm confused. I commented on Mary's story and got a comment back from you? 🤨😅

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Mary Bendickson
18:56 Jan 07, 2024

Thanks for the like and catching the typo. You are the reason I added more to the story.

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