“Which one do you want to start with this year?” I had a list, I checked it twice. I knew it wasn’t complete but would be a great place to start. “New or a classic?”
“Actually, Tara, tonight we have that party to go to.”
“Luke, you know that we can’t go. We talked about this. December 1st we stay home and watch our first two movies. We need to. It’s Christmas season and we have a lot to watch.”
“Tara, this is ridiculous. We are under no obligation to watch every new, or old, Christmas Hallmark movie every single year. It’s insane, you are insane. It was fun 12 years ago but now we need a life. We have friends, employers who expect to see us at staff parties. We need to get out of the house.”
“I don’t need to go anywhere. I am not insane. I can stay home and be perfectly content, better if you’re here but I see how it is. If you must go to the party then go. I’ll be here watching three movies by myself. I’ll get my romance from the hot guys on the screen.”
“If you’re trying to make me jealous enough to stay home forget it. I told Jack I’d be there, he’s picking me up in an hour. What should I tell our friends about your absence?”
“It doesn’t matter to me.” I left him speechless, went to our bedroom and started to change into my Christmas onesies while he followed close behind. He changed into a pair of jeans I loved on him and an ugly Christmas sweater. He laid my complimentary one on the end of the bed.
“It won’t be the same without you.” I wasn’t sure if he was referring to the effects of his sweater or the night.
“They are definitely ugly. Why don’t you bring mine in case someone forgets theirs?” It hurt me that he was going on without me. There would be other parties. Why my friends didn’t host them in November, respect my tradition to stay home every night in December, was perplexing. I crawled under the covers, deliberately pushing my sweater to the floor, and turned on the television.
The doorbell rang.
“I’ll be right back, it must be Jack.” I heard him welcome Jack in and mumble some excuse about me being too tired to go to the party. “She’s already in PJ’s and in bed.”
“Don’t lie to me, Luke. She’s there because she’s on her Hallmark kick. When will she get over that?”
I almost heard him roll his eyes as he said “not this year, anyway. I just have to grab something, I’ll be out in a second.” I unmuted the movie and hoped he wouldn’t realize I was eavesdropping on him. If he did he didn’t mention it. Just came in, grabbed his coat and kissed me on the cheek as he pleaded one more time.
“This movie is too good,” I lied. I picked a new one and without the sound had no idea what was happening yet. Something about a woman who owned a craft store in a busy city and a tycoon focused on money. It wasn’t hard to guess that but the man was delicious!
“Have a good night.”
“I’ll say hi to all of our friends for you.”
“Don’t bother. They all think my tradition is lame.”
He didn’t dare comment, just asked if I wanted the door closed or left open. “Open please.” I was going to get up anyway, secretly watch him drive away and then make hot chocolate and popcorn. Half the amount as usual but that was ok as I’d make it the way I favoured it.
I almost tripped on my sweater going back to my room. Kicking it out of the way I set my goodies on the night stand and the photo caught my eye. There for years I tended to look past it but having to move it slightly it took me by surprise. It was Luke and me horseback riding. It was a long time ago, so long I couldn’t remember the exact year or reason we went. It was hot though, with the temperature only at 59*F but my body was on fire.
I recalled the exact moment I fell in love with Luke again. It was like he was straight out of a Hallmark movie or bestselling-romance. His body was chiselled, his mind sharp and his passion for music was the cherry on top. We met through friends 13 years before and were together ever since. Best of friends and then lovers while still being best of friends. That he put up with my December ritual, among all my other idiosyncrasies, was amazing.
When he got on the horse I realized he was the bravest man I knew. He grew up in the city with no animals or sense of nature at all but he committed to adventure with me and said yes to everything I threw at him. I sighed as I put the frame back on the table and climbed into bed.
As romantic as Luke was, it wasn’t like a Hallmark movie. He was more like Elf – quirky and innocent, crazy at times. Maybe I was wasting my time with him while I was waiting for the real prince to come in and rescue me.
The movie played, sound on, and I still didn’t have a clue what was happening even though every plot was predictable. I was too caught up in my own thoughts to be able to enjoy the story or the hunk on the screen.
My hot chocolate was cold, popcorn was all soggy and messy. Luke was right. I needed to get out of the house. Working from home was dampening my social life and December should be all about being social and sharing things with friends.
I looked at the sweater sitting in lump on the floor where I kicked it and realized what I had to do.
Putting the sweater over my onesie I debated getting a coat but realized I was much too warm as it was. I grabbed the keys, drove to Luke’s favourite café, had them make his favourite hot chocolate with a ring designed in whipped cream on the top and raced to the party.
He was sitting on the couch in front of the tv while others chatted all around him. “Tara?”
“Don’t speak,” I whispered as I handed him his drink. Straddling him I noticed he seemed sad and hoped I could cheer him up. “I realized I didn’t need the rescuing, you do. Let’s make our own box office hit.” I looked down at his drink, realizing the ring was not much of one anymore. “Marry me?”
“I thought you’d never ask. Let’s go home and watch some movies.”