Snowing in December

Snowing in December

A Story by Here's What I Say
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Sequel to "Fallen"; What do you do when the person you hated most becomes the person you love most?

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Hi! This is the authoress speaking! This story is the third in line in a series of five stories. If you have not read "The Bridesmaid" or "Fallen" in that order GO AND READ THEM FIRST Thank you!

 

 

I put my book down as I waited at Starbucks for him to show up. I don’t know how I let him talk me into seeing him this morning. In the car on the way back from the beach, he had said nothing. When he stopped in front of my apartment, we both looked up at the apartment, not entirely believing this day was ending.

 
“Well,” he said. “Here we are.”
 
“Yeah,” I said. We didn’t say anything for a minute. It was almost the same kind of silence we had in the hotel lobby.
 
“Aren’t you going to say something?” he said expectantly. I looked at him incredulously. Maybe an hour was too short to expect a real change in perspective. I huffed.
 
“Look. I don’t know what to do right now, ok? It’s…it’s been one really long, awful day and I just want it to stop ok? I…good night, Barry.” I opened the door and pulled myself out of the car. By the time I got out, he grabbed my arm before I could close the door.
 
“Hey,” he said. “If you want to do something about this, meet me at Starbucks tomorrow. Nine o’clock. You hear?” I rolled my eyes and pulled my arm out of his hand.
 
“Alright. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
 
So here I was, sitting at this uncomfortable table because all the plush chairs were taken, sipping strong, overrated coffee, reading my dog-eared copy of Pride and Prejudice. I loved how Mr. Darcy surprised Elizabeth and the readers by being such a beautiful human being underneath his proud, first impression. There’s something so sexy about that.
 
Barry barged through the door like he owned the place, ordered his coffee, and once he grabbed his coffee, winking at the blond barista as he turned around to come to my table, he took a huge gulp of the scalding coffee.
 
“Ahh, that’s the stuff,” he said as if he had just swallowed cold, refreshing water after he had crossed a barren, dry and lonely desert. That just made me shake my head.
 
“What’s this you’re reading?” he asked, picking up the book before I had a chance to grab it from him. “Pride and Prejudice?” I was shocked that he was even able to read that.
 
“Yeah,” I said, getting a little defensive and irritated that he had my book. “We read it in junior year, remember? It’s the most romantic book I’ve read so far in my life, I love how Mr. Darcy makes me feel—”
 
“Then you need to get real,” Barry said. “He’s romantic, he’s chivalrous, he’s a fantastic writer and liar, and he’s not real.” I glared at him and leaned back in my chair.
 
“A liar?” I asked bunching my eyebrows together. “A fantastic writer and liar?”
 
“I’m willing to bet he was lying in that letter he wrote to her,” Barry said, sneering. “I think all he was trying to do was to get Elizabeth to like him. Being the stupid, gullible girl she is, she fell for it.” My eyes turned to daggers as he pissed me off the more he was alive.
 
“You might want to get to the point of why you had me come here before I punch you in the face for insulting one of the most romantic characters in all of literature,” I threatened. Barry rolled his eyes.
 
“Fine,” he said. “I’d like to know why the hell you care so much about Matt and Arianna together. What does he mean to you anyway? You two weren’t best friends, let alone boyfriend and girlfriend, so what’s the deal? Why does it matter to you if Matt’s in love with Arianna?” There was another question on his lips when I realized the tears in my eyes controlled whether or not he would keep speaking. We didn’t say anything for a while. More people breezed in and out of the Starbucks. The managers were busy taking down Thanksgiving and general fall decorations and beginning to put up snowflakes and some Christmas trees. I could hear the tinkling of Christmas lights being pulled out of boxes as they put them on the trees.
 
“It doesn’t feel like Christmas,” I whispered to myself.
 
“How so?” Barry asked, his voice just as low. I bowed my head but pulled it up quickly, in case the tears fell out from gravity.
 
“It’s too warm outside,” I said quickly. “There’s no snow here. That’s not how it’s supposed to be. At all.”
 
“You picked the wrong place for a white Christmas then,” Barry said pointedly. “This is LA. You belong in the mountains if that’s what you really want.” I looked up at Barry, not caring if he could see me cry. I could call up Giselle if he said anything. But I didn’t care anymore, and all the people I otherwise would have talked to about this I had excommunicated from my life.
 
“I love him,” I said as my voice cracked under the pressure of my emotions. “I always have. I’ve loved him since we were freshman.” Barry’s face was stonier than ever.
 
“That’s a long time,” he said. “To love someone you never had.” I covered my face in my hands and cried, not trusting him to understand.
 
“I thought he loved me,” I said. “I spent ten f*****g years believing he loved me too. He was so good to me. He was such a good friend to me. Do you know what that’s like Barry? To love someone you could never have? To dream about them every night, only wanting to hold them in your arms and never let them go? To have them so close to you, but never being able to kiss them and tell them how much you love them? To feel so unworthy of someone because they’re so perfect? To have these feelings for so long…and to have them stolen from someone you thought was your friend?” I thought it was the coffee or the fact that I was so upset, but something in Barry’s eyes told me that there was something underneath his stony mask moving around. It took a second and a deep breath for Barry to say something to me.
 
“How did you know that he loved you?” Barry asked quietly. There was no mistaking a feeling in his voice as if he was quietly and reluctantly letting something go.
 
“Because of this,” I said, opening my book and pulling out a sheet of paper. “I saw him put this into my locker.” I was scared that it was going to disintegrate in Barry’s hand, but Barry opened the letter and began to read the young handwriting.
 
“I hope the guy who wrote this doesn’t make a living with writing,” he said bluntly. It was a pretty decent length letter, but it took forever for Barry to read the difficult handwriting. I saw his eyes shift to the top of the page a few times, telling me that he was re-reading the letter. He finally put the letter down on the table. He crossed his arms and looked at it as if he were angry, and even betrayed.
 
“He asked you to meet him by that fence that was overgrowing with jasmine,” he growled. “Why didn’t you? Because if you had…gone to that God damn fence…you wouldn’t be crying over Matt right now if you did.” I didn’t like the tone he was using so I sat up, feeling my defenses rising.
 
“Not that it’s any of your business,” I snapped, “but I had drama practice that day. I would have met him there, but he was in drama too! He should have known that!”
 
“Then why didn’t you say something when you saw him?” Barry demanded. “This whole mess wouldn’t be happening to us if you had!”
 
“It’s not my fault that Matt fell for Arianna!” I yelled back, tears pouring down my face. “It’s not! If he loved me, he should have said something to me! I didn’t say anything because I figured he was just scared! Arianna stole him from me! She must have done something to him that took him from me!”
 
“Then he couldn’t have loved you for real in the first place!” Barry shouted at me. “He couldn’t have! He couldn’t possibly love you like this letter says! If he loved you…really loved you…he would have done anything…anything to make you see that! Arianna wouldn’t have meant S**T to him if he did! He doesn’t know what love is! He doesn’t know what it is to love somebody for over ten years!”
 
“Oh, like you do?” I said, standing up, temporarily towering over him. “What do you know about it? What do you know? Why do YOU care if I love Matt?”
 
“I don’t care if you love Matt,” Barry said coldly. “Because you don’t.” I could feel fire engulfing all of the organs of my body.
 
“How…how dare you,” I said in a dangerously low voice. Screaming couldn’t cover all of the emotions in me that were threatening to kill Barry right on the spot. “How dare you,” was about all I could muster. “How dare you.”
 
Barry snatched up the letter and my book and ran outside. It took me a second before I reacted.
 
“Hey!” I screamed. “Get back here! That’s my private property!” Barry ran across the street before the light turned red and risking my life for the only proof that I could be loved, I ran across the street, eliciting angry honks and words as I went against traffic to get to the park that Barry was jogging for. I ran the dirt path, following the footprints of his Sketchers. I could see him in the distance, running for the big water fountain in the middle of the park. My eyes widened in rage as I figured out what he was going to do with my paper letter and paperback book. I ran harder than I ever did in my life and once I felt I had enough momentum, I leaped in the air and onto his back, startling him and making him lose his balance.
 
“GIVE THOSE BACK TO ME!” I screamed. “THEY’RE MINE!” Barry knocked me in the head making me fall to the ground holding my head. I looked up in time to see him raise his hand in the air and prepared to throw them in.
 
“NOOOOOO!” I screamed, running at him and knocking us both into the fountain.
 
I could feel the pieces of paper floating on top of the water as I struggled back to the surface. Barry’s hands were forcing me down and closer to him. Was he going to kill me over a book and an old letter?
 
There was no air from him as his lips touched mine.
 
                  *            *            *            *
 
Even for southern California, I really wished the air were warmer so I could have dried off sooner. I sat as far away from him as possible. Any possible emotions I could have had at that moment were meshed together as I recovered from shock. I mindlessly squeezed water out of my hair and shirt. I knew that the battery in my car key was dead from the water.
 
I knew he was looking at me, but I refused to look at him. This was too much. It was too much to face that I had believed in and loved a lie.
 
We sat at the edge of the cement fountain for a while. We garnered strange looks from passer bys. I have no idea how long it was before he decided to speak.
 
“I was scared,” he said simply at first. “I was scared to tell you. I saw you in that first play and I…I couldn’t get over how pretty you were. I realized I had class with you. I knew Matt knew where your locker was. I didn’t think I could ever talk to you face-to-face, let alone about that. But I couldn’t help it. I had to tell you. I had to tell you somehow. I knew you loved those jasmines by that fence at school because I saw you stop there a few times, so I asked you to meet me there. I had no idea that you had practice that day. If I did, I would have picked a different day. But I figured that you just didn’t like me. And that I wasn’t worth the time of day. I went home that night and I wanted to swear you off, but I couldn’t. I joined drama the next day. When you didn’t show up, I figured you didn’t care about me, so how could I just waltz in there the next day and be buddy-buddy with you? I couldn’t talk to you normally because I knew you were just going to blow me off. So I blew you off first. I’d insult you just to talk to you. I’d smack you upside the head and shove you off the stage if it meant I could touch you just for a second. I did anything short of whisking you off into the sunset if it meant you’d give me the time of day. All I wanted was for you to love me too. But I would have settled for you hating me if you would even just acknowledge my presence.”
 
The only emotion that surfaced clearly to me was anger. Anger that he did all of that to me. That he made me miserable because he was too immature to tell me he liked me. That his stupid letter tricked me into believing that a guy I loved had loved me too. He never told me how he felt. He never had the balls to tell me.
 
He had lied to me all this time. Whatever else I was feeling was complicated and deep, and I would have to sort all of that out later.
 
“I’m going home,” I said, not looking at him and forcing down whatever else was in my heart. I began to walk through the park, memories of the past twenty-four hours coming to mind, and stirring up the feelings that were now beginning to give me a slight pressure in my chest that I hadn’t felt since I was in high school.
 
                 *            *            *            *
 
I paced back and forth in my apartment, waiting for Giselle to pick up. I don’t know how she got that Disney song “That’s How You Know” from the movie Enchanted as her dial tone, but I assumed that was a perk of having an internship to Disney World. I rubbed my left arm through my blue terry robe, wondering what she could possibly be doing that she couldn’t talk to me for five minutes. Not that this conversation could possibly cover everything in five minutes.
 
It’s not enough to take the one you love for granted,” I sang with the song. “You must remind her or she’ll be inclined to say; how do I know he loves me? How do I know he’s mine? Well does he leave a little note to tell you, you are on his mind?” A click on the other end was followed by Giselle’s happy voice.
 
“Hi!” she greeted me. “How’s everything in our disgustingly sunny state?” I choked but recovered in time to say something.
 
“Fine,” I got out. There was a suspicious pause on the other end of the line.
 
“That doesn’t sound ‘fine’,” Giselle said knowingly. “You normally say that California is just disgusting period. What’s wrong?” I guess living with someone for a few years does that. Especially someone you went to high school with.
 
“I got into a big fight with Barry,” I started. “I met up at Starbucks and he ran out to that park nearby and threw my book and Ma—my letter into that fountain.”
 
“Wait a second,” Giselle said. “What were you doing with Barry in the first place? You normally won’t stay in the same building with him unless it either involves money or a threat to a grade or something.” My eyes filled with tears. I knew I was upset that he threw two important things into a water fountain and destroyed them forever. But something deeper was pushing out my tears that I hadn’t quite figured out yet.
 
“You know how I called you last night and told you about the wedding?” I asked her.
 
“About how that s**t Arianna cheated on Darrell with Jason, and then how you got kicked out when you saw Arianna steal the love of your life right in front of you?” Giselle asked. The knot in my throat stopped me from correcting the latter part.
 
“Yeah,” I said. “Um…what I didn’t tell you is that I got kicked out with Barry. He agreed with me. He even wiped my nose when Arianna punched me and bloodied it. He took me home yesterday and then he got me talking about how much I loved Matt. And then…he had…he had the f*****g gall to tell me that I didn’t really love Matt.”
 
“Huh,” Giselle said. I stopped pacing for a second and let my wet hair fall behind my neck and the water soaked into my robe. I had spilled my heart out to Giselle about how much I loved Matt. How perfect he was for me. How romantic it was that he knew jasmines were my favorite flowers. That he cared for me so deeply and passionately.
 
“What ‘huh’?” I asked putting my hand on my waist.
 
“Well, you have to admit,” Giselle said nervously in her “best-friend-telling-the-honest-truth-but-afraid-to-suffer-the-consequences” tone, “that was a long time ago. A really long time ago. We were just kids. We’ve all grown and changed since then. Things have happened in between then and now. Don’t you think you should have let go of that a long time ago?”
 
“Why didn’t you say something a long time ago then?” I asked indignantly. “If it was such a stupid thing, why didn’t you call me out on it?”
 
“I don’t know,” Giselle said. “Maybe I didn’t think you’d believe me. Or worse, you’d blow me off because I was dismissing something so important to you. But what does Barry have to do with all of this? I don’t understand why he has anything to do with this. I mean, you hate him, don’t you?” The ready response was in my brain, ready to fire: “Of course I hate him! He’s been an a*****e to me since freshman year! All he’s done is insult me and shove me around like some stupid toy!”
 
It never came to my lips. Instead, the more complicated feelings began to conjure up the unwanted and painful memories from the day before. As the memories played in my head, however, I realized that the memories coming to mind had nothing to do with Matt, Arianna, Jason, Darrell or Cecelia. All I could remember was Barry offering me his handkerchief. His harsh words followed by his words of support. His soft hand under my chin. The way he held me up as my legs gave out from under me. His hand holding my wrist as I prepared to strike Darrell. The way he pinned me to the soft, cooling sand and how it seeped into my dress. The way he forced me to look into his eyes when I tried to run away from him. How he was the one who dried my tears when I cried. And how I realized, even in that moment before I knew the truth, that he was indeed all I had that day. The memories replayed over and over again like a never-ending slideshow that I didn’t know I had prepared.
 
“You don’t do you,” Giselle said rather than asked. “You don’t hate him anymore. But you still haven’t answered my question. What does he have to do with this? Why would he throw away the book and that letter? What did he have against them?” I didn’t even know I hit the “Talk” button on the phone, but pregnant silence filled my apartment. The memories continued to repeat its message to me, and then my phone began to ring again.
 
“Hey Giselle, I’m sorry I hung up on you,” I started.
 
“That’s a rude thing to do, but I’m not Giselle,” a deep voice answered. My eyes widened and I stood up a lot straighter as my stomach and heart filled with butterflies.
 
“Barry,” I managed to get out.”
 
“Look, I called to tell you I’m sorry,” Barry said, forcing out the words.
 
“For what?” I whispered. The tears in my eyes were the ones to tell me that I was the one who should have been sorry.
 
“For throwing away your book and letter,” he said sullenly. “I should have tried to understand how much they meant to you.” The apology stuck in my throat. And I couldn’t even tell him that I didn’t even miss the book or the letter now.
 
“It’s ok,” I croaked. Again the silence. I wanted to scream.
 
“Ok, it’s obvious you still don’t want to talk to me, so I’ll do all the talking,” he said at once. “I’m leaving for a business trip tomorrow. I should be back sometime next month. I don’t know if you’ll still want to talk to me then, but in case you do, you can leave me a message on my answering machine.” God I hated the silence. “I understand if you hate me, Angela. You have every right to. You always have. I’ll never speak to you again if that’s what you want. Good bye.” A click on the phone was never so piercing.
 
I threw the phone across the room and screamed. I screamed as loud as the heavens could hear me, not caring of the neighbors called the police on me because they thought I was being murdered.
 
                   *            *            *            *
 
“Here again?” the secretary asked me, making a note that an Angela Monroe was asking for Barry Donnell again. “I told you that we’re unsure of when he’s coming back to town, miss.” Normally I just stop the conversation there. The secretary sipped at her coffee before taking a bite of chocolate from her Advent calendar that was almost out of candy.
 
“Look lady, I’ve been coming in here for almost a month,” I said, trying to keep my temper under control. “Don’t you even know where he is? Shouldn’t he have told you? Isn’t there a number you can call or something? Anything?
 
“I’m sorry, it’s not my business to know what Mr. Donnell does,” she said, typing mindlessly at her computer. I gaped.
 
“Then what the hell do they pay you for?!” I screeched, a few secretaries stopping in wonder and fear at my outburst. “You’re supposed to know where the hell he goes on a business trip!” That’s when she looked up from the computer.
 
“Business trip?” she asked.
 
“Yes!” I yelled. “He went on a business trip didn’t he?! Or is THAT not your business to know either?!” She squinted at me before looking in her planner.
 
“Business trip…business…ah yes, he went to Minnesota for a meeting towards the end of November,” she said reading through it. “He came back to California early in December though.”
 
“Early December—?!” I shrieked. I think I was beginning to know what it was like to have an aneurysm.
 
“He was supposed to come back to work,” she said, “but he requested the entire month of December and into January off. I guess he’s been doing great because his boss gave it to him. He’s on vacation right now, miss. That’s why I don’t know where he is.” I’m pretty sure she looked up to make sure I got the message, but there were already tire marks on the pavement when she did.
 
              *            *            *            *
 
“Open up!” I yelled outside of his apartment. “Bryan! Open the damn door now!” I was doing everything short of kicking the door down to get his deadbeat roommate out of bed. The door finally opened and I was greeted by the sight of his die-hard surfer best friend—and then by his freshly lit joint almost burning my nose off.
 
“Hey, you’re that b***h Barry talks about all the time,” Bryan commented. I never could figure out how he was able to say that clearly without dropping his joint.
 
“Yeah, well you’re going to find out how much more of a b***h I am if you don’t tell me where he is,” I snapped. Bryan looked me up and down.
 
“Wow,” he said. I shook my head.
 
“What?” I asked annoyed.
 
“He’s right,” Bryan said.
 
“About what?” I asked.
 
“You’re f****n’ sexy when you’re mad.” Bryan said, smiling widely and pinching the edge of his joint between his teeth. Resisting the urge to slap the living daylights out of him, I took a deep breath, almost feeling like I was getting high too.
 
“Where is he Bryan?” I asked. “This is important.”
 
“Sorry, but I’m on strict instructions not to tell you where he went,” Bryan said, holding his hands up in surrender. “He said he’d kick me out of the apartment if I told you.” I crossed my arms.
 
“Wouldn’t he lose the apartment if he did?” I asked. Bryan laughed.
 
“Oh my God no!” Bryan said, heading towards the now ringing phone. “He’s the one paying for it, not me!” Bryan picked up the phone.
 
“HELLO?!” he yelled, plugging his free ear. “THE RECEPTION IS BAD! WHO’S THIS- OH BARRY’S AUNT? OH YEAH, BARRY’S PARENT’S CABIN IS IN WRIGHTWOOD, THEY’RE THE ONLY ONES BY THAT NAME UP THERE SO YOU CAN FIND THEM! WHAT? DID BARRY BRING THE BREAD PUDDING? YEAH! HE MADE IT! IT TASTES LIKE CRAP THOUGH, YOU MIGHT NOT WANNA EAT IT!” I slowly backed away heading for the stairs.
 
“Hey wait a second, where you going?” Bryan called after me as I began to leave.
 
“Home,” I said, trying to avoid the topic.
 
“Just like you,” Bryan said as he began to close the door. “Just like he says. You’re always running away.” Bryan took a huge hit of his joint before closing the door.
 
                 *            *            *            *
 
I pulled up to the cabin. It was ice cold in Wrightwood, but strangely, it still hadn’t snowed. It took me a few days to get a hotel reservation because of the holidays, and when I could, the only day they had left was Christmas Eve and I would have to leave in the morning to make room for those who made their reservations earlier.
 
I stepped out of the car and shivered. It looked really warm in Barry’s family cabin. I smoothed out my nice dress as I walked to the door, not knowing what to expect. Hesitantly, I knocked. Would his family take in a complete stranger like me? Did they know about me? Did they know that I royally broke their son’s heart? I felt fear tugging me back towards the car. I could leave. I had the choice to leave. All I had to do was run back to the car, jump into the driver’s seat, turn on the car, drive to the motel and never look back. I would be gone in the morning. They would never have to know who—
 
“Well hi there,” a cheery girl of no more than twenty said greeting me. “Can I help you?” I was taken aback by how pretty this girl was. I tried to swallow the fear of being replaced so soon.
 
“Hi,” I said shyly. “Uh, is Barry here?” I almost ducked, afraid that this girl was going to question me about how I knew her boyfriend.
 
“Yeah, he’s here,” she said. “I’ll get him. BARRY! YOU HAVE A VISTOR! AND QUIT TALKING CRAP ABOUT MY LASAGNA OR I’LL TELL MOM THAT YOU PUT BEER IN YOUR BREAD PUDDING!” I had never loved sibling rivalry more than at that moment.
 
“Please, come in,” she said, moving out of the way. “Sorry it’s a bit crowded, the whole clan showed up all at once.”
 
“That’s ok,” I said, rubbing my hands together as she closed the door behind me.
 
“So, how do you know Barry?” she asked me. I shrugged.
 
“I went to high school with him,” I said ambiguously.
 
“Oh you did?” the girl asked excitedly. “Then maybe you can help us solve the great mystery about Barry Donnell.” I lifted an eyebrow.
 
“What mystery?” I asked.
 
“Well, Barry was this really happy guy before high school,” she said. “Really happy. Had all these crazy hopes and dreams before then. Then all of a sudden, his attitude just turned to s**t, man. Said it was nothing, but I’m pretty sure it was a girl that did the damage.” I lifted an eyebrow.
 
“How do you know it’s a girl?” I asked her. She shrugged.
 
“I’m a woman, I know all,” she said. “Especially when your mom tells you to take the trash out and then you find all the crumpled up love letters he wrote to some chick he went to school with. He just wasn’t the same after that. She must have meant a lot to him though.” I gaped and tried to get the words out when seemingly the rest of the Donnell family found me and began shoving me towards the kitchen.
 
“Come, sit with us and have dinner,” an older woman in this group said, leading me to the table. I looked at everyone sitting at the table. Everybody was chattering excitedly, kids were running around with toys and wild imaginations, pine filled the air, I could smell marshmallows and chestnuts, and then I found myself sitting in a seat with a half eaten plate before the woman put a fresh plate in front of me. They filled me up with turkey slices, homemade mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, more vegetables than my mother would have recommended and when I finished one plate, another was put in front of me.
 
I listened to the conversations around me, learning more about Barry’s family than if I had asked them each one by one. I loved the way everyone was smiling and looking at each other. I hadn’t said a word to anyone else just yet, but somehow, I felt like I was a part of the family.
 
“Angela,” I heard his familiar voice say. I turned around in my seat and looked up at him. My voice caught in my throat. Barry was never one to dress up, but the way his green shirt lit up his green eyes made me feel that he should dress up more often. My mouth was wide open, my back was beginning to protest at being twisted for too long, and my eyes were locked onto his.
 
How did I miss how handsome he was for over ten years?
 
“Bryan told you didn’t he?” Barry asked. I gulped.
 
“Not exactly,” I said. “But you might want to teach him the concept of an indoor voice.”
 
“Oh, is this your sweetheart?” an even older woman with a thick Irish accent asked from down the table. I ducked my head down. I could feel the way Barry was looking at me, and I imagined that he looked like he didn’t know how to answer that question. Now everyone was looking at us, making sweet nothings at us and asking Barry why he didn’t tell them about me.
 
“There wasn’t much to tell,” he said curtly. I shut my eyes tight. I deserved that.
 
“It’s getting late,” the first woman said, looking at the clock. “Why don’t you stay the night, miss…uh, I’m sorry, I forgot to ask your name?”
 
“Her name is Angela, Mom,” Barry said for me.
 
“Oh, that’s a lovely name,” the woman with the accent said.
 
“It is Nanny,” he said quietly. “It is.” I looked up at him. Was there any hope for me?
 
“We’ll be cramped for space,” a man said, walking in and kissing Barry’s mom on the cheek.
 
“I told you I’m not against going to the little cabin down the street,” Barry said. His grandmother sighed wistfully.
 
“I remember living in that itty bitty cabin,” she said. “I remember how your grandpa, God rest his soul, carried me over that threshold when we got married and moved here. He carved that saying on the top of the door just for me just before we moved in. Oh, those were good old days.” She dabbed at her eyes with a napkin as Barry’s parents comforted her. I looked up at Barry. Barry sighed.
 
“My grandpa died a several years ago,” he said quietly. “When I started high school.” The tears stung my eyes, thinking that I didn’t rip a hole in his heart, but merely widened an existing one.
 
“My grandparents sort of had a hard time growing up, being from Ireland and all,” Barry said, sitting in a now vacant chair that his aunt was in. “He was almost always working on that potato farm his family had and he didn’t always have time for her. I remember how even when he was living here he was always working so hard, and sometimes he’d come home from working and being so tired that he’d snap at me or my grandma. I always wondered how she could love someone who could hurt her like that—especially for that long.” Barry hung his head. I put my hand on his arm. He looked up when he felt me touch him. That was probably the first time we remember that I touched him willingly.
 
“Do you understand now though?” I asked. “Why your grandma stayed with your grandpa for so long? How she loved him all those years even though he hurt her?” I was going to keep questioning him until he put a finger to my lips.
 
“Everything happens for a reason,” he said. “Everything. No matter how much they hurt. Or how much we think things should happen in another way.” I could see a glow in his eyes. I don’t think we could hear too well the cooing from his relatives as we leaned in close to each other.
 
“It’s getting late,” his mother reminded us. “And dark. You should stay with us Angela. We’d love to have you. You can stay in Barry’s room or Kate’s room—”
 
“There isn’t anymore room in the house, Mom,” Barry said, never once taking his eyes off of me. His mother began to protest, wondering where I was going to stay, and I could never get out that I had a motel.
 
“If we leave now,” Barry whispered, “we can still get to my grandma’s cabin before it’s too dark.”
 
               *            *            *            *
 
Christmas Eve was winding down in the cabins of Wrightwood, and the only sounds I could hear were the car door closing and the sound of our breaths vaporizing in the air.
 
Barry began hiking up the small hill that lead to the entrance of the tiny cabin. I followed him up, trying not to twist my ankle in the heels I had never gotten used to wearing. I huffed and puffed all the way up, feeling my body become more flexible from the warm up. I looked up over my head. From what I could see that the trees weren’t blocking, the sky was still clear and I could see the millions of sparkles that the city lights hid.
 
“It still hasn’t snowed yet,” I said. Barry was trying to fit the iron key into the old lock in the dim light from the few streetlamps that were still on. “You came up here for a white Christmas, and it looks like summer. Is this what you wanted?” I looked back down to see Barry staring intently at me.
 
He didn’t say a word to me even as he put one hand behind my knees and the other behind my back and picked me up. He shoved the door of the cabin open with his foot and began to walk inside. I looked up to the top of the doorframe.
 
“Love is the greatest gift of forgiveness,” I read aloud. I looked back down at Barry as he carried me towards the back to the master bedroom.
 
                 *            *            *            *
 
It was in the middle of the night when I woke up. I turned my head to find Barry snuggled next to me, deep asleep. I loved the way his broad shoulders felt against me when he slept and how warm his breath was on my bare skin. I remembered my pastor at church telling me once that the greatest gift at Christmas was the love that came to earth. For the first time, I agreed with him. Everything was finally the way it was supposed to be.
 
When I turned my head to look out the window, a powdery pile of snow gathered on the windowsill.
 
Sequel, "Coffee":
 

 

 

 

© 2008 Here's What I Say


Author's Note

Here's What I Say
If you still read this story without reading "The Bridesmaid" and "Fallen" after my HUGE disclaimer at the top, then please do NOT leave comments on here that you didn't understand what was going on. Thank you.

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Wow, you are a hopeless romantic. haha. This was a good story. It almost made me want to read Pride and Prejudice, but i think I'll stick with the movie. As a whole, these stories work great. If I was you, I would consider just adding a few more parts, a few more detail fill-ins, and making this thing a novel.

There are a few problems with it. In the first part, you're talking about how he had dropped angela off the night before. I think you need to change the tense on that to clear up some confusion. like, 'he had said,' things like that, instead of 'he said.' because at first I didn't know if the conversation was taking place in the coffee shop or not.. but that might just be because I'm unobservant.

The Pride and Prejudice lines when she's reading it are a really great precursor to Barry coming in.

A couple lines really struck me as either funny or really really sad. there was a line about she had missed the rendezvous for drama practice, and i was like, hell, she's perfected it! and then the line about she was risking her life for the only proof that she could be loved, that was so sad.. so many people feel like that but hardly any would dare admit. people think they're unlovely because they just don't hang around the right people.

anyway, there were a couple grammatical issues, but other than that, this was a highly entertaining chapter in the saga of barry and angela.

Posted 15 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

yay! I was waiting for it and here it is. I'm really excited to read the next chapter.

Posted 15 Years Ago


Wow, you are a hopeless romantic. haha. This was a good story. It almost made me want to read Pride and Prejudice, but i think I'll stick with the movie. As a whole, these stories work great. If I was you, I would consider just adding a few more parts, a few more detail fill-ins, and making this thing a novel.

There are a few problems with it. In the first part, you're talking about how he had dropped angela off the night before. I think you need to change the tense on that to clear up some confusion. like, 'he had said,' things like that, instead of 'he said.' because at first I didn't know if the conversation was taking place in the coffee shop or not.. but that might just be because I'm unobservant.

The Pride and Prejudice lines when she's reading it are a really great precursor to Barry coming in.

A couple lines really struck me as either funny or really really sad. there was a line about she had missed the rendezvous for drama practice, and i was like, hell, she's perfected it! and then the line about she was risking her life for the only proof that she could be loved, that was so sad.. so many people feel like that but hardly any would dare admit. people think they're unlovely because they just don't hang around the right people.

anyway, there were a couple grammatical issues, but other than that, this was a highly entertaining chapter in the saga of barry and angela.

Posted 15 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I'm really enjoying this series so far, even though I'm not usually one for following people's romantic entanglements. You keep your story moving forward at a good pace. Your dialogue is emotional.
The one thing is that I can't really relate to your main character, but I think that's more a reflection of my personality (and cultural expectations) than your writing quality. Sometimes, though, she can seem a little too "damsel-in-distress" and a bit weepy. It would be great if the reader could get insight into some of the other sides of her personality.

Posted 15 Years Ago


Compartment 114
Compartment 114
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felt a little bit like a complex indian movie with a twist. I must say that my personality does still seem like Barry a bit. lol

Posted 15 Years Ago


oh this is a fantastic chapter... i knew that there was some kind of feelings for angela on barry's side - but i love how this all came together...

Posted 15 Years Ago


i think i like this chapter the best so far, i didnt expect her to follow him. guess it turned out well

Posted 15 Years Ago


Truly wonderful...

Posted 15 Years Ago


It was kinda fast but it made me go awwww and everybody needs to have a moment once in a while

Posted 15 Years Ago


I do love an happy ending. it is sad that angela was in love with the wrong person this whole time and that barry had to suffer being hated by her for years. but it all worked out in the end it is wonderful how they forgave each other so quickly. this is a great story all three parts from beginig to end.

Posted 16 Years Ago


I can't wait for the next chapter! Barry's a very interesting character. The modern Darcy.

Posted 16 Years Ago



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Added on April 3, 2008
Last Updated on August 13, 2008

Author

Here's What I Say
Here's What I Say

Torrance, CA



About
I was born on July 3rd 1986 in Torrance, California, and grew up there all my life. I had a hankering to start writing when I was eight, but didn't start actively pursuing it until I was thirteen and .. more..

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