by Megan Rogers
Every morning starts with Christmas cookies. Today, I bake gingersnap cookies for the display case at my small town bakery “Homespun Happiness.”
My sassy older friend Miss Ethel pops by and we sit down with our mugs of hot chocolate and eat a gingerbread replica of Cinderella’s castle. She tells me I need to focus less on the shop and more on falling in love.
My landlord arrives once Miss Ethel leaves. Rent, rent, rent. He’s here to show a real estate investor the bakery. The potential buyer is unpleasant, wearing a suit and insanely handsome. How is he not in the Christmas mood? He’s probably going to turn the shop into a money making factory.
I distract myself from my bakery’s impending doom by talking to shoppers about the reason for the season. They leave somewhat confused and head to the town’s Fourth of July parade. I sing carols on my way to the grocery store, where I run into the brooding potential buyer. I have to admit, his broad shoulders would be perfect for stringing Christmas lights.
He catches me staring and I chase him down the baking goods aisle where I give an impassioned speech about the importance of Christmas cheer that highlights my passion for ornaments and my lack of business know-how.
“Only a Scrooge would expect rent every month,” I yell. Frustrated, I commit to spend the afternoon showing the grumpy guy the wonders of Christmas. I close the shop down, even though I’m going to lose $1,000 in profit. My heart is full.
Moody Guy and I bicker. His eyes are as green as a Christmas tree. After an hour, he introduces me to his son, Chris. I still don’t know this man’s name, but he’s a single dad, so I know he’s sensitive at the core.
It’s perfect weather for grass angels. Chris is now calling me mom. We look through my Christmas card collection and moody guy, who asks that I start calling him Elliot, cries about his dead wife and tells me I’m the only person to warm his heart in years.
I kick off another round of impromptu Christmas caroling and the three of us head arm in arm to the town center. People look up from their barbecues and apple pie, annoyed. I catch Elliot mouthing the carols. We stroll pass Miss Ethel while singing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” She winks and toasts Elliot and I with a mug of mint hot chocolate.
We lose the kid, whose name I can’t remember. Elliot and I go to the gazebo and he kisses me chastely. The kiss feels as magical as the year’s first snowfall.
Elliot confesses that he secretly loves Christmas and I confess I knitted him a Christmas stocking while he was in the bathroom.
We dance to music no one can hear. Tomorrow we will get married. I will make a gingerbread wedding cake and our first dance will be to an off-brand version of “Joy to the World.”