The snow pounded down onto the valley. Christmas lights fearlessly lit up the surrounding area. Some houses had even gone far enough to decorate their front yards. Happy scenes of grinning elves, reindeer, and even a few religious items beamed from yards.
No matter what station you turned to on the radio there was always a Christmas song. Even shops joined in the joyous holiday playing their tired tracks. People packed as tight as they could in the stores doing last minute shopping. The holiday was only hours away, and then everyone would be headed for home. Each had their loved ones to spend the holidays with.
Becca tucked the bag of groceries into the passenger seat of her car. It wasn’t that she hated the holiday, but this year she’d be spending it alone. She’d followed her husband to the next base. They’d barely had time to settle, before he got the orders. He’d be spending the holiday overseas. As they were still only months into their marriage there were no children to celebrate with either.
Becca had long since accepted that there would be times that they would have to spend holidays apart. She’d just always held out hope that it would never be Christmas. It was after all, her favorite holiday of the year.
She slid behind the wheel, cranking over the engine on her beat up sedan. It took three times, but the engine finally roared to life. She’d need to take the beater in very soon for a checkup. Becca edged out of the parking lot, taking it slow on the slick roads.
She parked in the driveway looking at her house. It was the only one naked on the block. No Christmas lights and no yard decorations. That had always been Greg’s area of expertise. No Greg, no Christmas. Her family was too far away to celebrate with.
Becca slid into the house after kicking the snow off her boots. She looked at the festive tree. It had packages piled beneath it, but it would be summer before they were opened. She moved to the kitchen, setting the groceries and her keys on the counter. The house seemed so quiet, and her thoughts were dark in the quiet. Becca moved to the living room to turn on the radio.
She froze. The floor was decorated with a trail of brightly colored rose petals. Becca’s brow furrowed. Her fingers wrapped tightly around the bat Greg insisted she always keep handy. She’d never heard of a burglar that left a trail of flowers, but she wasn’t going to find out too late.
Her steps were cautious as she wound up the stairs to the second level. Her heart beat at a rapid rhythm. The door to her room was partially closed. She never closed her door. Becca pressed herself against the wall. Inwardly she cursed Greg for being gone at that moment. She summoned all of her courage, afraid of what she’d find in the room. Becca pushed the door open with the bat, while jumping into the room. She felt like a ninja ready to protect her property.
“Hi – ya!” Becca screamed swinging the bat wildly. She hadn’t expected the pathetic attempt of defense to work, but the metal bat vibrated her whole body. It had come into contact with something. That something had been hard enough to create resistance.
“Oof.” The groan sounded as the large mass sank to the floor. He landed hard on his knees. Nothing had registered with Becca, but that there was an intruder.
“Take that – and that.” Becca hit the man with the bat. He finally reached out grabbing the bat. One quick yank pulled the bat from Becca’s hands.
“Enough, Bek.” Greg groaned out. The bat clanged onto the floor behind him. Becca froze in horror. She’d just pummeled her husband with a bat. She looked around the room. There were petals covering the bed. Candles were lit around the room. To rub it all in deeper, her husband was wearing nothing but a pair of red velvet boxers, with a Santa hat.
“Oh, Greg. I’m so sorry.” Becca collapsed onto her knees in front of him. She threw herself around his body. Greg’s jaw clenched, but he held her all the same. The feel of his wife wrapped in his arms after a year and a half was incredible. He’d missed her so much.
“It’s okay.” Greg lifted her face to his with a finger placed beneath her chin. He leaned down and tenderly covered her lips with his own. That first kiss after so many months brought every ‘Hail Holy Night’, ‘Jingle Bells’, and ‘Noel’ crashing around them. Becca’s hand slid up to cup Greg’s neck. The silent tear of joy that slid down her cheek, rested where their skin met. Greg broke the kiss. His thumb caressed her cheek. Their eyes reflected the twinkle of joy at spending another moment together. “Merry Christmas, Bee.” Greg spoke, his voice cracking with emotion.
“Merry Christmas, Greg.” Becca smiled, grateful to have her soldier home.