A Lonely Christmas Part One

Thanks to Hallmark. I got in the mood to write my own Christmas story. Maybe this will actually get me in the mood for Christmas. It really doesn’t feel like Christmas is weeks away.

* * * * * * * *

This shouldn’t be hard. Why was this so hard? Ellie bit her lip as she continued to stare at the books that called her name. But, she couldn’t decide. She just wanted one book to read over the weekend. To take her mind off the fact she would be home alone for Christmas. This would be the tenth year alone.  Ellie thought maybe she could throw herself a ten year anniversary party. Her and her books. Okay, maybe she would invite her dog, Freddie.

“Have you read Jackson Smith?”

Ellie turned to look at a man staring at her. “I’m sorry?”

“You look lost. I’m not sure what you are into, but Smith has some great stories to tell.”

She couldn’t help, but smile. “I know. He’s my favorite. I have all his books.”

“Me too.” The man smiled.

“I’m looking for something new and different.” Ellie turned to look at the books.

The man moved in closer. “How about Josephine Martin?”

Ellie turned to look at the man. Why was this man interested in her? She told herself to stop it. The guy could just be a nice guy. They had something in common, that’s all. Ellie tried to eye him as much as she could without being noticeable. He had black hair that just went over his ears. She could see a few grey hairs. He wore jeans and a black leather jacket. Maybe in his thirties or early forties?

The man picked out another book. “Here, try this one.”

He handed her a book called Elves Island. Ellie smiled. Interesting title and she did love elves. “Thanks.” She paused and wished she could thank him by name.

It was as if he read her mind. “The name is Ethan. Ethan Bennett.”

Not knowing why, Ellie stretched out her arm. “Ellie. Ellie Acker.”

“I hope you enjoy the book.”

Ellie smiled. “Thanks, me too.”

Ethan turned and walked to the next aisle. Ellie shook her head. Ethan was handsome. He reminded her of Christian Bale. Thinking of Christian Bale, she decided maybe tonight she would watch Little Women. One of her favorites for Christmas.

After deciding on a murder mystery. Ellie found herself at the register.

“Please tell me you aren’t reading that for Christmas?” Ellie turned to see Ethan behind her. She laughed and hugged the murder mystery. “Why not? I love a little mystery.”

Ethan didn’t smile. She wondered what the big deal was. What were the chances she would see Ethan again. Plus, it fit her mind. Christmases were getting worse every year. “It’s a joyful holiday. Family. Friends, and so on.” Ellie fought the urge to shake her head. She hugged the books she grabbed tighter to her chest. She looked at the man in front of her. She would be in line for a few minutes. The man had to have at least twenty kid books in his arms.

“No offense Ethan. I might sound like the Grinch, but you know what? It’s just another holiday. No big deal.”

Ethan moved closer as if he didn’t want others to hear their conversation. “You must have family.”

Ellie looked and wished the cashier would hurry up. “I do, but my parents will be visiting my brother this year.” Just like the year before and the year before that.

“No other family?”

“Not around here.” She couldn’t take off from work. Because, she had no family in the area or friends begging her to come over. She worked at the newspaper on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, so other editors could have off.

“Well, I know I’m a stranger. But, maybe coffee?”

This was just odd. Most men, ignored her. As far as she knew. She wasn’t ugly, but she was sure she had to be ordinary.  Right now, she wore brown yoga pants and an old David Bowie shirt. Her hair was in a messy bun. Plus, Ellie didn’t bother to put on make-up this morning. She glanced at the woman behind Ethan. She wore skinny jeans and a tight white sweater. The woman had long blonde hair. She either had to hair spray every hair or she had perfect hair. Ellie didn’t see one hair out of place.

“I have to be at the office in a couple hours, but I’m only working until eight. Maybe meet at Starbucks? Down the street?” What was she doing?

Ethan smiled. “I would like that. Maybe I can convince you that Christmas is the best holiday.”

Ellie couldn’t help, but laugh. “We shall see.”

“Next in line?”

Ellie turned and looked at the cashier and back to Ethan. “Well, that’s me.”

Ethan nodded. “See you around eight.”

Maybe Ellie would post on Facebook that she was meeting this guy. Out of the 400 friends, someone had to care if she went missing. Right? Her mind drifted back to Ethan. There had to be a reason he wanted to have coffee with her. Ellie would have to figure out what to wear. She told herself not to get too excited. After all, it was just coffee.

Ellie looked and smiled at Ethan one more time before she exited the store. He waved and returned a smile. It would be interesting night for sure.

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