christmas eve

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s e v e n

I lifted my spoon up to my mouth, staring out of the window. The snow just continued falling... It was so strange to me.

Never before had I been stuck in a snowstorm. The worst thing I had ever witnessed had been a slight earthquake back at home. Well, I hadn’t even really felt it. I had been asleep in my room and had woken up to the news telling me what had happened.

It had been just as surreal as it was now.

I swallowed down the warm soup. Sadly, we didn’t have any bread or toast. I never ate soup as bland, but now it was the only thing we had. Desperate times called for desperate measures... but now I was just dramatic.

I looked over at Cade, who was focusing on the snow just as I had. His nose scrunched up, and I couldn’t hide my smile. He looked so stupid that it was almost cute.

“Do you think it’ll stop anytime soon?” Cade asked suddenly.

My brows furrowed.

I hadn’t thought that he had noticed me staring. He’d seemed so far away. But it seemed like I had been wrong. “What?” I asked. In these two seconds, I had completely forgotten what he had said.

“Do you think it will stop snowing any time soon?” He threw me a look, smiling. He seemed to be enjoying himself.

I breathed in deeply, looking outside again. There was so much snow that it looked like it would never stop. “I’m not sure,” I started hesitantly.

I didn’t want to give him any false hope in case I was wrong. That would be just cruel. He probably wanted to see his family as much as I did.

“I sure hope that we can get out of here before Christmas, but I guess the news says differently.”

He licked over his lips and leaned back. He left his spoon on his plate, half of his soup unfinished. It didn’t seem like he would eat anymore. His arms crossed over his chest.

“Would it be that bad to spend Christmas with me?”

My brows furrowed immediately.

Was he really considering this?

“I guess it wouldn’t be that bad,” I said, looking into his eyes. There was a flicker that I hadn’t seen before.

I didn’t know what he was feeling. “But wouldn’t you miss your family too? I mean, a Christmas without them?”

He chuckled, lifting his hand to his mouth. His teeth were on display when he smiled. “I always do, Holly. But I understand what you mean. Christmas with my family was always the best thing in the world to me.”

I bit my lip.

I hadn’t missed that he was talking in the past tense. Had something happened? I opened my mouth, but he had already moved his chair back and stood up.

“I’ll just bring back my plate,” he explained, lifting it up. He didn’t look at me as he turned. I turned too, my hand on the back of the chair, watching as he walked to the kitchen, his back stiff. “I’ll be right back.”

I sat there, stunned with silence. I didn’t know what to do or say. Well, either way, if I had known, I would have only been able to speak to myself. He had just left me here. There was nothing for me left to do other than to continue to eat.

I watched as the door to the kitchen fell close behind him, keeping him away from my eyes. My shoulders sagged down.

I stared at the wood for a brief second before I sighed and turned back to the table. I stared down onto my plate as I picked up my spoon again. I continued eating. Now, everything was tasting like uncertainty, an unknown taste on my tongue. Even worse than what the soup usually tasted like. I didn’t know what I had done or what had happened.

Maybe I had said something? The thoughts plastered my mind until I couldn’t stop overthinking everything. Was he angry with me?

Maybe he was just sad that he hadn’t gotten his ride back home... but that didn’t feel right. I was almost sure that he wanted to get away just as much as I had, but it didn’t feel like the answer to this puzzle.

So it could only have to do with something I had done.

I groaned and planted my elbow onto the table, my chin falling into my hand. I let the spoon fall into the plate, wincing as some of the liquid spilled onto me. I closed my eyes and ran my left hand over my face. I was always prone to fuck things up.

I didn’t know why, but I had tendencies to say the wrong things at the wrong times without even realizing it. Sometimes, I just spoke without thinking about it first. Words just tended to run out of my mouth like water out of a waterfall...

I needed to apologize.

Whatever it was, I didn’t want him to think badly of me.

I opened my eyes again. My shoulders were tense, and my skin felt too tight. I stroked over my hair and looked back to the kitchen.

When would he come back?

I sighed.

Maybe I should go and look for him? I looked back onto my plate. There wasn’t much left anyway... even though I was far from being satisfied. I slowly stood up, trying to be as quiet as possible as I moved my chair back.

I lifted up my plate and turned around. Hopefully, this wasn’t a bad idea. I could imagine the aftermath being gruesome, but at least I was trying. That counted for something, right? I wasn’t so sure about that, but nothing would stop me.

If I couldn’t fix this, I would have to live with the consequences for the next few days. There wasn’t really a way to avoid each other. Yes, either one of us could just barricade themselves in their room, but there was nothing fun about that.

I would probably slowly start to fall into depression if I stayed in my room longer than a day or two.

I sighed. Why didn’t anything go as planned?

I would be sitting in my room if everything had happened as it should’ve! Maybe, I would be listening to mum and Arthur argue, but at least I would’ve been where I should’ve.

At home, everything was fucked up already. There wasn’t much my presence could change about that.

Home, I wasn’t bound to fuck shit up. Others did take that part from me already. It was easier that way. I didn’t feel any guilt about that because I had another person to blame. But, at this moment, there was just me, myself, and I. And Cade.

Everything was a fucking shitshow.

My gaze stuck on the door, I started walking. One step in front of the other, and I wasn’t sure what was about to happen. This could either go by fast and make me happy.

Or it could destroy my mood for the rest of the days in the college. And the snow wouldn’t stop anytime soon.

I grabbed the door handle with one hand while the other balanced the plate with soup.

“Cade?” I asked as I opened the door. Our eyes met immediately, and I stopped in my tracks. A splash of soup splashed onto the ground.

I grimaced but couldn’t look away from him as he threw me a smile. It seemed like nothing had happened. How had he gotten over this so soon?

“Want some?” he asked. He held out the package of marshmallows he had in his hands.

“Sure...” I muttered. To say I wasn’t perplexed would’ve been a lie. I walked to the cabinets to place my plate on top of them.

I carefully stepped over the soup on the ground. I didn’t need to get my shoes reeking of it. Once my hand was left empty, I turned to the side and walked to Cade. I took one of the marshmallows and put it into my mouth, watching his every move.

He was looking at me too, staring at my cheeks as I chewed. He was acting weird. No matter how much he tried to act like everything was fine, I knew there was still something lingering in his mind.

I swallowed and leaned my side against the cabinets. “Is everything fine? If anything is going on... I’m sorry, alright?”

He just nodded, grabbing another marshmallow and stuffing it into his mouth. I stared at his shoulder.

I knew something was going on. But it seemed like I wouldn’t find out what it was.

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