RAQUEL RODRIGUEZ AND I COLLABBED ON THIS, CHECK HER PART OUT WHEN IT COMES OUT!!!!!! ENJOYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!
Christmas Eve was always my favorite time of year. The holiday smells, the anticipation. All my friends hung out together, eating cookies and drinking eggnog spiked with scotch. The fire crackled below the cobblestones, warming everyone’s hearts. Now here it was again, rounding the bend before Christmas. If I could, I would run right past it to the 25th, but you gotta keep the anticipation building, I guess.
“Where to, miss?” The cab driver was a husky man, his beard stylishly messy.
“127 Browning Avenue.” In New York you could never let down your guard, especially not in a cab. The driver nodded his head and stepped on the gas. I can’t imagine a more dreary job than driving a cab for strangers all day.
As we pulled up to the house, I could see the flurries of snow gently piling up. The snow was so beautiful. No snow would be a no-go for me. Lyra wouldn’t mind it though. She was always so accepting like she didn’t care what life gave her. We’d met in college, and been besties ever since, but she’d never asked to host Christmas Eve before.
“Hi!! How are you?” I embraced Ly with a big hug, asking how she was even though we’d seen each other yesterday. She had a big smile on her face, shining with joy. What was she so excited about?
“Oh my god, you gotta see the tree!!” She squealed with excitement, rushing me over to it. I gasped in delight. It was decked out fully in red and green lights, red ornaments, and it even had a star!!
“Anyone home?” John was here! We had been friends since college too, all met at the Writing Club, but he was the only one that made writing more than a hobby.
“John!!” I hugged him and took his coat, slapping him with it before putting it on the coat rack.
“I meant besides these two gremlins?” We laughed together, then Ly and I smacked him on the arm.
“Hey Marcia, can I talk to you for a sec?” I shrugged at Lyra, her face frozen in a weird expression, before walking out of earshot. John had never been this private before, and it kinda weirded me out, but I knew him, so I trusted him.
“Marcy, I… I can’t tell you how… great of a friend you’ve been.” I beamed, my mouth halfway into telling him the same, but he persisted. “I’ve really loved being around you. Like really really loved it. We’ve been friends for like five years now, so I thought it was time you knew.”
What was he going on about? There was only one other time where he’d acted like this, at graduation day of college.
“Yay!! We did it!! No more annoying professors!!” Those were the words everyone was thinking. College was over, finally, and it was time for another big step in our lives.
“Marcy, I… I haven’t been too honest with you. There’s something I gotta say.” I twirled towards John for the first time that night.
“Come on, John! Enjoy the night!!” I kept dancing, just barely whipping around to see a look of defeat before he joined in the fun too. Lyra was next to us the whole time, and I could’ve sworn I saw her whisper something in his ear, but maybe that was just me.
“Marcy, I love you. Marry me.” Those six words sent my brain into cataclysmic shock. What?
“Hey, John, look!” I danced in the rain, twirling with my umbrella like Mary Poppins.
“I see. You look–” Something cut him off, but I didn’t pay him any mind. I had never paid that much attention until now.
Was he gonna say beautiful? Gorgeous? What was he going to say? Why hadn’t he said it sooner? Did I love him?
“Come on, Marcia!! Have some eggnog!! I spiked it with extra scotch!” Lyra was always there to save me from despair, her and her eggnog. I should order that every year by the gallon. It certainly made me feel better.
“Whoa, there, take it easy! What’s that, your fifteenth cup?” Tom appeared in the doorway, as if by magic.
“Tommy!! Come here and gimme a hug!” I wrapped my arms around him, but I noticed he held on a little longer than normal. What was this? Why did I only notice these things now? Were all of my friends in love with me?
Tom had always been my friend, though. I was just being paranoid. Classic Marcia, I thought, worrying over everything.
“How’s lawyer stuff?” I drew out the word lawyer for sarcastic effect. Every one of us had been something related to writing, after that awesome writing club, but he just went in an entirely different direction. None of us could understand it.
“Ugh, hard.” He slapped John on the back, and as I turned away for another cup, I thought I saw John whisper something into Tom’s ear. Stop being paranoid, Marcy. I forced the weird thoughts out of my head.
“Hey, Marcia, can I talk to you?” Oh god. Please don’t propose, please don’t propose, please please, please.
“W-what is it?” I was shaking a little. I was a writer, not a billionaire. Why would any of them wanna marry me?
We walked over to the window, me still looking like an antelope in headlights. He traced the glass, watching his breath turn to fog. He looked… well… he looked handsome. Why had I never seen him like that before? I remembered all those nights in college, his arm around me.
“Marcy, I’ve always known that I wanted to spend my life with you.” There it was. Why was I the only person who didn’t see that my friends were in love with me? Ly wasn’t, though. She’d always just been a bestie.
“Hear me out. Ever since college, in the writing group, I knew. You’ve always wondered why I chose to be a lawyer when I loved to write. The truth is… well… I… I did it so… I would have enough money to support you.” He choked out those last words like they were seaweed stuck in his throat. Warmth flooded to my face, as if my head was boiling.
“Tom, I–” He cut me off with his hand, and I stopped. What was that look in his eyes? Suddenly, to my surprise, he held me close and put his lips to mine.
“Urk!” I mumbled, but then leaned in. His lips felt soft, kind. I felt at home. Still, I knew it wasn’t right. As much as I ached to stay with him, to keep his lips plastered to mine, to hold him, I pulled away.
“I…I need some more eggnog.”
“... and then he proposed. I know, it’s a little weird, right?” I was just busting my feelings out to Ly’s brother Adryan, as if he was a sponge absorbing it all.
“I could marry you, Marty!!” He puckered his lips in a joking way and I pushed him down. I was always another older sister to him, but he called me Marty to make me mad. If I ever had a younger brother, I think he’d be something like Adryan.
“Stop bothering her!!” Ly pushed Adryan even further and kicked him for good measure.
“Ly, did you know the boys were in love with me?” Her face contorted, squished like a wrinkled prune.
“...Yes…” She seemed to spit the word out like a poison, spewing it into the air.
“Well, I just gotta say thank you for not telling me 'cause this night was horrible. Like really really horrible.” She beamed and put her arm around me, her ‘nog in the other.
“I’m so happy that you’re not proposing. That’d be just too much.” Something in her face changed, like a switch being turned off. I could tell she was upset, but I couldn’t tell what about.
“What’s wrong?” She turned away and waved me off, then stormed up the stairs. What was wrong with all of my friends? Was the world just against me??
“Lyra? You okay?” I didn’t want to overstep my boundaries, so I stayed far away, trying to be comforting. She patted the bed, and I reluctantly sat down. I still didn’t understand what had made her mad.
“Marcy… I… I don’t know how to tell you this…” I had to push my eyes down to keep them from rolling.
“Let me guess. You wanna marry me, you’ve been madly in love with me, blah blah blah.” I expected her to laugh, to push me off the bed playfully, to maybe even give me a hug. After all, it’s not easy for me to go through this much romance drama. Then she did something I definitely didn’t expect. Tears started rolling down her cheeks, dripping to the bed.
Lyra had always been my emotional rock, the one I couldn’t bear to be happy without. She was always my best friend. Did I really need us to stay that way, though? Did I know, inside, that I wanted something else?
“Hey, girls, I propose we listen to something other than Mariah Carey?? She gets enough money every Christmas anyway.” Ly’s mom came bumbling in with cookies but ran out immediately when she saw Lyra crying.
“I… I’m so sorry, Ly.” I put my arms around her.
“I can’t. I just can’t.” My bone was sticking out of my leg, hurting like the fires of hell.
“It’s okay, Marcy. I’m here. It’s fine. Come on, stay with me.”
“Lyra, I think I know what you were going to say.” She let out another sob, but I put a hand up to stop her. “I’m free on Thursday… wanna do it then??”
DEDICATED TO RAQUEL RODRIGUEZ MY COLLABBER!!!! CHECK HER OUT!!!!