Callie is standing in the middle of it the frosted trees and lights, staring down at the snowy ground. Her forehead is creased like she’s thinking about something deeply. She has a coat on, gloves, and boots pull over her jeans. Her hood is down and snowflakes cover her long, brown hair. She’s simply beautiful. Perfect. Amazing. And I give myself a moment to appreciate everything that’s her before I walk toward her. She must hear my boots crunch against the snow because she glances up, startled. Tiny snowflakes dot her eyelashes, her cheeks flushed, and she has a smile on her face, her eyes so full of love I seriously about turn around and look over my shoulder to make sure there’s no one else standing there.
“Hey you,” she says still smiling at me. But she shifts her weight, appearing nervous, which makes me nervous as well. Why would she be nervous?
“Hey you back.” My feet move toward her on their own, wanting—needing to be near her. “Why are you standing out here in the freezing cold?”
She holds up her finger, indicating to wait just a second. Then she walks toward the leafless, snow-bitten tree beside her and ducks behind it. A heartbeat later, music surrounds me. When she steps back out, she’s still grinning. The snowflakes swirl around us, almost moving with the slow rhythm of the song.
“What do you have back there?” I ask. “An iPod dock or something?”
She shakes her head as she hikes through the snow toward me, reducing the space between us, something I’m so grateful. In fact, I want it all gone—not a single drop of space left between our bodies. “No, it’s Luke’s stereo. Seth borrowed it from him so I could use it for this.”
I shake my head, a smile touching my lips for the first time today. “God, he’s so weird with all that old crap he keeps around, right?”
“Like all his mixed tapes?” she says with a soft laugh as she reaches me.
I nod, slipping my arms around her waist, eliminating the space between us. Suddenly I become warm in the midst of the cold. “I seriously think he belongs in the 80s.”
“Maybe he does.” She loops her arms around the back of my neck and draws me closer. “What era do you think we’d belong in if we could go live in a different one?”
“How about the 60s,” I suggest.
She smiles. “We’d be all about the peace, love, and happiness.”
“I think that sounds a lot like you.” I tuck a strand of her damp hair behind her ear. “I’m not sure about me, though.”
Her forehead creases as I stroke her cheek with my finger, memorized by the softness of her skin. “You’ve seemed a little bit down lately… has something been bothering you?”
My smile falters. “I’ve just been thinking about some stuff.”
“About family stuff?”
“Yeah… I can’t help it… with the holidays coming and stuff. It’s just got me thinking.”
“About your family?”
I swallow the lump in my throat. “Yeah, about my lack of one.”
“You have me,” she says quietly. “You always will.”
My heart tightens in my chest. “I know I do,” I say, then lean into kiss her, unable to take the little amount of space between us any longer.
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