Welcome to the first of my Christmas stories. Some will be heartfelt, some will be sappy, and some will hopefully make you chuckle, but all will glow with the warmth of the season. Enjoy. ☺️

She stood gazing at herself in the bathroom mirror. Her face still looked a little pale and there was no disguising the hallowness of her cheeks but she has no choice. She had to do this. 

She zipped up the back on the cobalt blue dress. The dazzling blue still sizzled even if it had less material to work with than before. She’d lost too much weight. She couldn’t hide that either. She just had to hope the lighting, the music, everything overwhelmed him. 

He was late. He hated coming home late. He left his briefcase in the car. It was Christmas Eve and all he really wanted was enjoy this time with his wife. To pretend for a little while that they were themselves once more. To pretend that she…. they used to be the fun couple. The ones everyone wanted to be around. Now their friends were always busy. No one wanted to be around them anymore. He could barely stand to be around them anymore. His eyes watered. For seven years there’d only been one woman who filled his senses. One woman who stirred his heart. Now, now she was been taken from him. Stolen by a disease that was relentlessly merciless. 

He entered the house and froze. The table was set for two, a dinner spread enough to feed a small army, and there she was. Seated at the head of the table. Chestnut eyes shimmering, she glowed, chocolate skin seemingly so alive in the soft glow of the candles. He went to her. Long before his lips touched hers, her scent did. That light fragrance of orchids scenting her neck. 

They ate. They spoke of everything but the obvious. He cradled her hand. Brushing her knuckles with his thumb. For a moment he forgot. 

She sensed the change in him. How’d he gone from relaxed to tense as he remembered. As he remembered she was dying. She pulled away from him. 

His jaw dropped. Shocked by the fierceness of her eyes and the abruptness of the tug away. 

“What’s the matter?”

“You! You’re the matter!! I just wanted one evening! Just one!” She said as she jumped from her chair. 

“What are you talking about?” He asked, leaning back in confusion. 

“You know what I’m talking about!” She screamed. 

“No, no I don’t.” He said carefully as he moved from the table and slowly walked towards her. 

“I wanted one evening as your wife! Not the sick and dying one but the one that’s still alive! That one that adores you! The one that misses being held in your arms, the one that misses that twinkle in your eye, the one that misses sex!”

He never thought he be able to scare his jaw off the ground. Sex?! How could he think about  sex when-

“When I’m dying. I know. I know that’s what you’re thinking.” She said matter of factly. 

“You keep forgetting, I’m not dead yet. Your forgetting I might not die at all!” She cried, asphalt colored tears dripping from her lashes. 

“How can you talk like this!” Blood boiling, he couldn’t hold his temper in check any longer. 

“How can you talk like this! I love you! For the past year I’ve been trying to hold it together! Watching you shrink. Watching your skin fade, peel, dry. I’ve held your hand through every appointment, cried with you at night, mourned with over our dreams-”

“But that’s just it! They’re not over yet! I’m still here!! I know I’m not the woman I used to be but can’t you look past that?! Can’t you love me like you used to! Can you pretend to try!”

His angry response whither on his tongue. She was right. From the moment he found out he’d treated her not as his wife but as a patient. Some infirmed person who could fall apart at any moment. He slowly closed the distance between them his hands caressing the familiar feel of her body. He allowed his mind to drift. To remember that this was the woman he loved. Scooping her up in his arms he carried her to the bedroom. It’d been ten months since he’d touched her like this. Felt her head nestled on his shoulder. Felt sigh and shudder underneath him. He’d waste so much time. He determined to make up for that tonight. 

———–One Year Later——

The house bussled with guests. The first Christmas party they’d had in two years. It felt good. As he mixed another batch of eggnog his eyes scanned the crowd. There she was. The picture of vibrancy. Her hair, worn curly tonight, danced around her neck. Her floor length champagne colored gown glowed with a life all its own. She looked lovely. She was alive. Alive and healthy. Tears swimming in his eyes he reached for the brandy. Tears in the eggnog would never do. 

Turning back around he saw his wife on the other side of the table. Her eyes filled with laughter she smirked at him. “Since when do you get weepy over eggnog?”

He smiled, “Did you want something? Or did you just come over here to harass the bartender?”

“No thanks.”

He raised an eyebrow in disbelief, “You, rejecting my eggnog?”

“Yeah, I’m not drinking.”

“I wouldn’t call a glass…you’re not drinking…”

Tears blinding her eyes she nodded. 

Rounding the table he snatched her up. Swinging her around he shouted, “I’m going to be a dad!”

As the cheers and hoots resounded from their guests, she nestled her head in the crook between his neck and shoulder, breathing him in. This, this is the one thing she wanted for Christmas. 

Bespoke

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