christmas eve

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n i n e

I was staring at the bookshelf behind Cade, trying to figure out what my principal was reading. The whole wall was framed with books, and I could imagine that Mrs. Sullivan had read all of them. She was that kind of woman.

Ever since I first met her, she had been this picture of neatness. The glasses on top of her straight nose, the tight grey suit, and her heels only added to her exterior.

I could only make out academic books. How boring...

Cade leaned down to the side, causing me to look back at him again. A smile was present on his lips. “You know what only adds to the fun?” he asked.

I tilted my head to the side. A click sounded through the room. Cade sat up straight again, lifting something up and onto the desk. A large bottle of wine. I was just staring at it.

“A huge amount of liquor,” he answered for me with a laugh. My face had to look hilarious at this moment. I just couldn’t think of anything to say.

My brows furrowed. “Where did you get that?” was the only thing that came to mind.

“Mrs. Sullivan has a stock of sort.”

My eyes snapped up to his.

“You can’t be serious.”

A grin widened on his face, and he stroked over his hair, his other hand messing with the bottle. His thump moved up and down over its dark red tag.

“You didn’t know that whenever she has to grade certain people’s tests, she likes to drink and put on sappy music?”

My mouth opened. Cade leaned back in the chair again, a picture of certainty and smirks. I couldn’t believe what he was saying. He had to be lying! “How would you know that?”

He took hold of the bottle, lifting it up. He turned it so that the tag was to him, examing it. “It has its perks, being the quiet kid. I’ve heard a lot of the teachers talking.”

I leaned forward, crossing my arms in front of my stomach.

I wasn’t sure if I should believe him. If this was the truth, it would change my whole perspective of my principal. And somehow, I could see her doing as he had said.

I shook my head as a short chuckle left my lips. I guess for some people in this college, alcohol would be needed while grading. I didn’t even want to know what mess would stand on top of someone’s papers. If I were a teacher, I’d probably do the same.

Cade started to toy with the bottle, moving it from side to side, mimicking the motions with his shoulders. He looked so silly with the grin on his face that I couldn’t hide my smile.

“I don’t know if you’re just lying, but either way, we can’t drink Mrs. Sullivans Wine!”

He pouted at me. “Aw, why not, Holly?”

“We-” I shook my head and breathed in deeply. This was going to go so wrong, I could feel it in my veins. “I... I don’t actually know, but wouldn’t she miss it?”

He snorted.

“I don’t think she’d mind right now. They don’t even know that we’re here, Holly.”

I breathed in deeply and threw a quick glance out of the window. It seemed like the snow had become less, but it was still snowing. Decisions over decisions... did I really want to get drunk? With Cade?

Somehow I found a grin growing on my lips. The answer was yes. I wouldn’t lie to myself. Not anymore.

I looked back at him again, only to find him looking right back at me. “How do we open this thing?”

We grinned at each other. A brief second later, Cade leaned over the table and grabbed a scissor. He placed the bottle onto the table, holding onto it with his left hand.

“You just take the scissor,” he explained, lifting it over the bottle. He opened it and held it so that one of the blades was pointing down. He threw me a grin. “And then force it into the cork.” He did as he said without any hesitation.

I watched as he pulled the bottle closer to him, starting to twist the scissor, and so the cork. It didn’t take long until it popped, and the liquid bubbled up. My eyes widened. The wine would run everywhere!

Cade cursed and stood up, holding the bottle away from him. He pulled the cork out and threw the scissor onto the table.

He took a step away from the table and looked around, leaving a wet mess behind on the floor. He tried to press his hand onto the opening, but that didn’t work.

My wide eyes met his.

I turned in my seat and spotted the trash can that stood next to the door. I rushed to it. “Here!” I exclaimed and turned around with it in my hands.

He rushed to me and held the bottle over it.

We both watched as the rest of the liquid rushed out. I couldn’t help but chuckle as it stopped suddenly. Cade and I made eye contact. He was grinning.

“Well,” he sighed, looking back onto the mess he made. There was red wine on the desk and on the floor. Even parts of his sweater were wet. “We’re already off to a good start.”

I was staring up onto the white ceiling. There was a lousy grin ontop of my lips. I just couldn’t stop. “What did you say?” I giggled. I ran a hand through my hair, letting it fall to the side.

Cade groaned and pushed my hair from his face.

Our heads were next to each other while our feet were laid in different directions.

“What’s your favorite color?” he asked.

I licked over my lips and grinned, moving my head to the side so I could look at him. He had already been looking at me, laying on his side. I had felt his stare. My brows furrowed a bit when I noticed his body. Or either what was missing on it. When had he taken off his sweater again?

“Holly?” My attention was brought back to his eyes.

I blinked at him and giggled.

His face was a bit blurred. I squinted my eyes to see him better.

“Yeah?”

I swear I could see a smile form on his lips. Or at least I thought I did. Everything was blurry. Maybe glasses were what I needed at this moment...

His hand stroked over the top of my head.

I quipped up a bit, smiling widely. I felt fuzzy.

“I asked about your favorite color,” he repeated. Now I could see his smile. It wasn’t one of his smirks and grins, but an honest smile. It suited him. I liked it.

I was smiling too. At this point, it didn’t feel like I could stop. “Sunset,” I said, “that’s my favorite color.”

His eyes squinted a bit, but his smile never vanished. I really hoped that it would stay there on his lips. “That’s your favorite color?”

I nodded my head. Looking up to him like that was starting to hurt my neck. I hiccuped and started to squirm my way onto my side.

Cade watched with amused eyes. “What are you doing?”

“I’m trying-” my breath hitched once I laid down on my side. My head was too heavy, and so it fell to the side and onto the ground. I groaned, pinching my eyes closed. “I’m trying to see you better,” I mumbled a second later, opening my eyes again.

My eyes flew over his face. At first, I was stuck on his lips, but then my attention was elsewhere. I smiled and reached my hand up to trace lines over his cheeks, his nose. “Your freckles are pretty.”

I giggled when his cheeks turned as red as a tomato. I liked the color, though. It reminded me of the sunset, where the night sky followed. His freckles reminded me of the galaxy, the stars we could see when we looked far up into the sky.

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