Author’s Note: I’m labeling this NSFW even though it is only one pic near the end and there is no nudity involved. Better safe than sorry.
Welcome to Christmas in September! LOL
Dear Diary, I send you greetings from the Christmas Cottage I rented for our honeymoon! At last, we are here and there’s lots of snow just like my Ellie wished for! There was so much of the powdery white stuff, in fact, I carried her across the unshoveled front walk so she wouldn’t get her feet wet. She giggled the entire way and thanked me with a huge kiss that sent electricity right down my spine.
It was early evening and the drive from the airport was cold, so we were keen to get inside.
It was a small, two bedroom house with a great room and combined kitchen and dining. I liked the layout a lot, not to mention how cheerily it was decorated. Everywhere I looked, there were twinkle lights, Christmas trees, and comfy pillows. The way the rooms were lit made me want to snuggle right in with Ellie in my arms.
“C’mon on!” Ellie said, gesturing for me to join her.
Breathless and holding hands, we ran from room to cozy room, laughing just like two kids at, well, Christmas.
“I can’t believe we get to stay here for an entire week!” she enthused.
It made me feel so proud that I’d found a place she already loved so much.
I still had to bring our groceries in so we could stock the kitchen but I definitely approved of the rustic layout. There were lots of cabinets and a newer stove. Both Ellie and I liked to pad around the kitchen, improving on each other’s recipes. She took a lot of pride in her cooking skills and I could see in her eyes that she liked this kitchen, too.
“Oh, this is so charming,” Ellie murmured as we crossed back into the great room.
The windows were frosting over which reminded me that I should get a fire going soon. Quickly, I checked the thermostat and bumped it up a little. I didn’t want her to get a chill.
The bedrooms were situated off the great room with a Jack and Jill bathroom in between. I’d never been attracted to the country or primitive style of decor but I couldn’t picture this little cottage adorned any other way. It was fitting and added to the feeling of comfort that was resting in my chest.
Looking at my bride, I could tell she was completely enchanted by our surroundings.
Ellie gasped when she saw the bathtub. “Well, I’ll be…”
Tickling her side a little bit, I said, “Room for two!”
She blushed prettily, her face glowing. “Plenty of room.”
That immediately got me going but she was already off in the other bedroom.
“Let’s stay in this one!”
“Okay,” I easily agreed, pulling her into my arms. “Wanna take a nap?”
I playfully bit her earlobe and she squealed, then, turned so she was in my arms, facing me.
“I would love to, however, we need to bring everything inside and put it away.”
Brushing my lips against hers, I murmured, “Are you sure?”
She sighed, melting against me. I kissed the top of her head, my fingers gently lacing through her soft hair.
“I guess all of that could wait. I love you.”
“I love you, too, baby.”
It was a drag having to put our winter gear back on to bring our luggage and groceries inside. Ellie resisted my attempts to make things easier for her. I’d insisted she sit by the fire and rest because I could handle the lifting. She’d insisted right back that she wasn’t an invalid just because she was pregnant and that she could handle the lighter grocery bags just fine.
I knew better than to try and argue with this little spitfire. Ellie did what Ellie wanted. When I think about it, I wouldn’t ask her act any other way. Who was I to try to change her, anyway? That would be a horrible thing to do. Besides, her independence and self-confidence were two reasons I was so in love with her. All I could do was keep a reasonable eye on her and make sure I gave her the lightest things to carry.
“This feels so good.” She bent near the fire, her hands still gloved and outstretched toward the heat.
“All I can feel is my empty stomach.”
“Let’s make something simple tonight.”
Her back was to me, but I could hear the tiredness in her voice. Knowing she would never tell me she was too exhausted to cook, I put a simple plan in place.
First, I couldn’t resist dipping her for a romantic kiss. As she giggled, I enjoyed the fact that she never feared I would drop her. I figured because she wasn’t a dancer, this sort of thing might make her nervous. Yet, it never seemed to. She simply took all my shenanigans in stride.
“My darling,” I purred, “you shall have a gourmet meal prepared for you of the finest ingredients.”
She was laughing now, her blue eye sparkling. “What are we having, Monsieur?”
“Perfect! And it isn’t even Tuesday!”
“We can have tacos then, too,” I grinned.
She laughed, poking me in the chest. “Every night should be tacos.”
Ever since she found out she was pregnant, she’s wanted tacos. All. The. Time. Still, I was happy if she was happy.
Later, when dinner and dishes were done, and the sun began to set, turning the sky the most awesome purplish-pink hues, I tucked Ellie into bed and slid next to her, holding her in my arms. The indoor lights were off and the house was quiet except for the sound of our breathing. It lulled me into an easy, uninterrupted sleep.
Ellie had never built a snowman before, so that was on the agenda during our week away. I made sure she understood that I alone would be lifting the heavy balls of snow to stack them. She conceded and not very reluctantly. I was hoping this was a sign that she was more open to letting me do the heavy work.
Every once in a while, she would throw a little snow at me and I would get her back. I didn’t think it would be a very good idea to get into an all-out snowball fight with her, so I tried to keep it low key.
“It’s looking good!”
“I’m having so much fun, Holden.”
As I was lifting the snowball that would be the snowman’s head, I thought I heard the noise of twigs snapping to my right.
“Did you hear that?”
Ellie continued packing the snow on the bottom of the snowman while I hovered there, very still, straining to listen.
“I thought I heard footsteps… branches or twigs breaking like someone stepped on them.”
She stood up and paused to listen as I rested the snowman’s head on his body.
“I don’t hear anything,” Ellie said.
“I don’t hear it anymore. It gave me the creeps, though.”
She smiled patiently at me, her hands on her hips. “We’re in a cabin in the woods. It was probably an animal. Or maybe the heavy snow broke a tree limb.”
The last thing I wanted to do was to worry her, so I smiled and nodded. “Yeah, you’re right. I guess it just startled me.”
“What now?” she asked as she appraised the man we’d made.
“Uh… typically, it’s coal for eyes and the mouth, a carrot nose, maybe a hat or something. Oh, and twig arms.”
Her baby blues lit up and she ordered me to remain where I was as she dashed into the house.
Emerging from the house within minutes, her arms full, she brightly said, “I saw these in our closet last night when I was hanging up our clothes.”
As we fashioned his face and set his arms in place, I couldn’t get over how content Ellie seemed. It didn’t take much to please her. This simple act of snowman building – something I’d done all my life since childhood – put her on cloud nine. We stood back and appraised our work.
“It’s little Holden playing hockey,” she laughed.
“Little Holden?” I smirked, an eyebrow raised. “Do you think we’re having a boy?”
“Well, it would be nice if the first one was a boy, but I’m not set on it.”
“Maybe this is little Ellie, the first girl on the boy’s hockey team.”
She beamed at this. “Yes, if we have a girl, she can be whatever she wants.”
“I agree, but if any of those little boys hurt her – ”
” – We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Who knows? Maybe the little boys will be too scared of her to do anything bad?”
I liked that idea but then visions of a little Rosetta flashed through my mind and I became worried. I loved my twin. Other than Ellie, Rosetta was the one I love the most. Even though she could be extremely bossy and difficult… even then, I loved her. All at once, I couldn’t get it out of my head. What if our child is like Rosetta? I didn’t know how I would handle that. As much as I loved my parents, I didn’t really think they did a good job with her. My dad even seemed to appreciate her behavior and mindset.
“Penny for your thoughts.”
Shaking away the negativity that had been welling up in me, I smiled at my bride. “Oh, nothing. It’s nothing.”
“Let’s have some leftover tacos!”
Laughing, I nodded and took her hand. “Let’s.”
That night, I struggled to get my cell phone a decent signal. It was snowing again, a little heavier, and I wanted to look up the weather forecast. I’d been told prior to renting the cottage that a cell phone signal would be spotty at best. After a half hour of walking around with my arm outstretched, my phone in the air, I finally gave up. Maybe the weather was making it harder than usual.
Or, maybe the travel agent hadn’t known what she was talking about and a signal was next to impossible to find. That made sense, seeing as how we were pretty isolated and surrounded by forests.
A naggy, nervous feeling penetrated my stomach, making it feel like it was full of butterflies. I couldn’t put a finger on what was really bothering me except that I’d never been so isolated before.
Over the next couple of days, I vainly continued my attempts to find a signal on both our phones. It just wasn’t going to happen. In the meantime, I did my best to push the unease I felt into the back of my mind. It wouldn’t do to make Ellie concerned. It wasn’t like we were stuck here, we had the car we’d rented sitting outside. We could leave anytime we wanted to and we had plenty of supplies. Who cared if we got snowed in for a few more days when we were planning on being here anyway?
I kept reminding myself that this was supposed to be the best trip ever.
Then, it snowed even harder. I couldn’t sleep as I watched it drift to the ground. The flakes were fat and heavy looking making it difficult to see the lights on the outdoor Christmas trees.
The next day, the sky was bright and blue. Ellie suggested we take a walk since we’d been stuck inside during the past day. There was a crisp top layer that crunched under our boots as we trudged through the snow.
Ellie’s face was full of color and it pleased me that she looked like the picture of health. Whenever I asked her how she was feeling, she beamed radiantly, telling me she never felt better. The cold weather and pregnancy seemed to agree with her.
“I was thinking it might be a good idea to head to town and stay in a hotel.”
Her jaw dropped slightly and her eyebrows knitted together. “You want to leave? It’s our honeymoon.”
Taking her hands as I faced her, I squeezed them through our heavy gloves. “The weather seems to be getting worse. We have more and more snow every night and I don’t think it would be a good idea to get stuck here.”
She seemed to think about this for a moment. “We only have three days left. We can’t stay?”
I should have insisted and gone with my gut feeling on this. At times, my intuition was strong and I found that I’d made my biggest mistakes in life when I ignored it. Yet, looking into her innocent eyes, I didn’t feel I should disappoint her. It was true, she didn’t know how bad a winter season could be. I was more experienced in that. But there were those pleading eyes, looking into mine with such strong emotions. It would crush me to make her unhappy.
Sighing, I pulled her into my arms. “I’m probably just overreacting. Of course, I don’t want to ruin our honeymoon.”
She smiled at me, then kissed me, her lips warm against mine.
Much to my consternation, it snowed harder that night.
Ellie did an excellent job distracting me, though.
As we cuddled in the large bed, Ellie’s head resting on my chest, it was easy to forget the howling wind and quickly lowering temperature outside.
Just as I was drifting off, I heard a scrape or tap on the window. My eyes bolted open and I half sat up, trying to see outside. The windows were frosted over from the cold, so this was impossible.
“Did you hear that?”
Ellie yawned, stretching, her foot sliding down my leg. “Mmm… yeah, it just sounded like a branch against the window. Go to sleep, Mon Amour.”
Did I ever mention that I love it when she speaks to me in French? It completely unravels me, and it did in this instance, too. I watched her as she drifted to sleep and I pulled the covers up around her to keep her warm.
It was to be a sleepless night for me as I couldn’t help but watch the window. It definitely could have been one of the tree branches scraping across the window. It was windy outside and there were a lot of trees close to the house. Still, I couldn’t chase the ominous feeling out of my gut that something was about to happen.
Author’s Note: The darling Christmas Home by Aquarhiene was used as the Christmas Cottage. I love this house a lot and I haven’t put it on my CC Credits page yet, so I thought I’d put it here in the meantime.
Don’t miss Wednesday when an interview with Socallucyfan (Once Upon a Legacy) will be published!
Thank you, as always, for reading, liking, lurking, and commenting,