christmas eve

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1. b o n u s

“It’s just white,” I breathed.

I heard Cade snicker. “Yeah… seems about right.”

The only thing I could do was stare. How come had I never seen something like this?

Where we lived, snow was common, but the amounts of it that I saw right now were enormous. And yes, I still remembered the pile of snow that I had discovered when I had drunkenly tried to get out of the building.

But this… it was something else…

There was rummaging behind me.

“What are you even doing over there?” I asked, not bothering enough to turn and see for myself.

I was too entranced at what I was seeing. It was crazy.

“I’m bringing the food,” I heard him mutter.

The man was acting as casual as usual. I couldn’t believe him…

How could he be so calm?

“Dammit, Cade, have you actually looked at this mess outside?”

A chuckle, and then, a loud curse. I flinched when something that sounded like glass shattered on the ground. I turned.

Cade stood by the doorway, his dark hair a tousled mess atop of his head, shirt dark and stained. He stumbled a few steps back as he looked down onto the mess he had made.

Pieces of a plate and of what I assumed to be the mentioned food laid on the ground.

“What even is that?” I asked.

He breathed out a chuckle, raising one dark brow at me. “That’s your food madame.”

I stared at it. “Is that cheese on it?”

“Well, of course,” he grinned. “Only for you, my dearest Holly.”

I pulled a face, scrunching my nose and shaking my head. I would gladly pass on that.

Cade didn’t move.

“You don’t expect me to help, do you?”

His head tilted to the side, an all too sweet smile etching onto his face. And I knew that he wouldn’t move until I did. I slouched down against the back of the couch I was leaning against, pulling the blanket around me tighter.

I didn’t want to move. Not now, not ever.

“But I’m so comfy,” I whined.

Cade snorted at me and stepped over the shards of porcelain. When he slowly started to pace toward me, I knew that I couldn’t get out of this. I had to accept my fate…

Even though, I hadn’t even brought it upon myself!

“Cade, no,” I breathed, looking up to him. But there was no use. He grabbed my arm and started to pull me upwards. “No!”

Not a seconds later, I was standing, my blanket a pile around my feet. I sighed in defeat.

“Oh, come on,” Cade chuckled, pulling me along to get a broom and dustpan. “If I freeze to death in these halls, I don’t wanna be alone.”

I groaned at this.

It took some time to get to the kitchen and then back to the library where we had been “camping” in- as Cade liked to say it. We had grown bored of the cafeteria a few days ago and then had decided to roam the rooms and halls for a better place to stay.

I had brought up that we could just stay in one of our rooms, but that had somehow not been good enough for Cade. He had preferred to build another blanket fort. And then, a couple of hours ago, we had built one right in front of the tall windows that usually showed the back of the campus, where the garden laid.

But now, where normally flowers, bushes and mostly willow trees resided, there was almost nothing but snow. It covered the entirety of the ground, the flowers, and smaller bushes, and where trees once stood so proudly were only their upper half left to see.

It was clearly… something else.

I simply couldn’t understand how something like this had happened in only a couple of days. And not for one second did I think that this was the last of it.

It could have been so much worse if I had been alone…

I admitted that, even as he had dragged me through the halls not long ago, so that meant a lot.

“Come on, Holly.” Cade handed the dustpan to me before he started to sweep together the shards. I rolled my eyes, watched until he finished and then kneeled down to clean up the rest and throw it into the trashcan.

I turned, wanting to return to my blanket, when Cade grabbed my arms and stopped me. I stared at his dark shirt grumpily.

“Holly don’t make such a face,” he cooed, cupping my cheeks in his hands to tilt my head up. He grinned when our eyes met, but I squinted up at him.

“Oh, Holly,” he laughed softly.

His breathed was dancing over my lips, but he stayed away.

A smaller, softer smile formed and then he reached up to brush his lips over the top of my head, over my hairline and then down to my forehead where he lingered for a brief moment.

There were slight sparks where his lips had been, and I buried my face into the crook of his neck to hide my smile. He was so silly.

“Don’t you understand that I needed you with me?” He whispered, amusement dancing in his tone. He pressed his cheek onto the top of my head. It was like I could see the smile on his lips. Somehow, I just knew.

His arms folded around me, and he pulled me closer to him. I hugged my arms around his middle, enjoying his warmth.

A quiet seconds passed. And then another.

“No, I don’t,” I answered quietly then, letting my nose glide over the side of his neck.

Cade chuckled, moving his hands up and down over my back. He rested his chin onto the top of my head.

“You don’t?” he whispered back. Mirth danced in every syllable, and I couldn’t stop smiling.

I was glad that he couldn’t see.

“No,” I murmured against his skin, curling my fingers around the fabric of his shirt. It felt so soft.

Cade kissed the top of my head again, pulling me even closer. “You are good company,” he teased.

I snorted at him. Scrunching my nose, I dug my finger into his back.

“Hey!” he complained, but then relented, “Alright, alright… I see, I gotta work harder for this audience…”

He sighed into my hair. “You also do smell good.”

I chocked on my next breath.

“And I love talking to you,” he added, and I could hear the grin in his tone. He sounded carefree, content. I liked that.

Rolling my eyes, I pulled my arms back and pushed my hands against his chest, chuckling under my breath. “I think that’s enough for now.”

He laughed at me and only let me move a bit back. Our eyes locked.

“You’re great, Holly.”

I smiled a bit at that but kept stemming my hands against his chest. If only I could push him away…

A grin formed, his eyes warming. Light danced in his eyes.

“And now, give me a kiss.”

I laughed. “Only if you’ll let me go.”

“Never.”

He dove right in, lips clasping mine. My breath hitched, but it only took me a second to open my lips for him, grab him by the front of his shirt and pull him toward me again.

His tongue felt silky against mine, warm and smooth. I laughed into the slow kiss, holding onto his shirt to keep myself upright.

And then, we are back where we were again, standing in each other’s arms. I took in his warmth, breathing in his scent. I held onto him while he stroked my back.

Time passed and when I stepped out of his arms, I took his hand and pulled him along to where my blanket laid.

We sat down pressed against each other’s sides, tucked the fuzzy blanket over us and stared at what awaited us outside. And that was when I noticed that the snow was still falling from the sky in heavy, white flakes.

What nature was able to do was enormous.

I puffed out my breath. “Do you think it’ll stop snowing anytime soon?”

Cade snorted.

My brows furrowed as I turned my head to the side to look at him. “No answer for me?”

A smirk formed. His eyes met mine, shining with mirth. “Hopefully, it won’t. Wouldn’t want you to miss me too soon.”

I rolled my eyes and huffed, slapping the back of my hand on his chest. But even my annoyance couldn’t keep the slight smile off of my lips. Oh man, what this boy was doing to me…

I shook my head at him and closed my eyes.

Somehow, this was way better than it would have been at home. A grin quirked. I just couldn’t help myself.

Because who would have imagined that we would end here?

If I had listened to the news or to my mother, I would have never gotten to know Cade more than I did now. We would have never really spent time together…

And now, these last few days, we had been attached at hip.

Mindless the failed attempt at baking with what we had and the endless bickering about who had done what wrong, I had had fun with just being… with him, I guess.

I didn’t know what it was, but he made me happy.

“What are you so giddy about?”

Blinking my eyes open, I discovered that Cade had turned to his side, his left hand on the ground to support him. He looked at me with shining eyes, and all I could see were those golden spots that took up my entire being.

The corners of his lips curved upwards as he moved his right hand to my face, his index finger grazing over my lips.

And then, somehow, out of the depths of myself, I had to keep myself from biting him. Just the thought of his face after that made me chuckle.

“What?” he grinned.

I shook my head and failed to contain my laughter. “It’s nothing.”

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