For Balder, Odin’s golden son who was killed by Loki’s arrow made of mistletoe, I have written this story. His mother Frigg declared that mistletoe will never harm another, and so we find ourselves caught in a kiss beneath the mistletoe.
Under the Mistletoe
She stood in front of the full-sized mirror that hung on the back of her bedroom door and sighed. Nothing she could do would make her look any less frumpy.
She wore a red plaid sweater and a black pencil skirt. She patted her frizzy hair, wishing she knew how to tame its wild ways. She secured it with a barrette affixed with an oversized red velvet bow. Why had she agreed to attend this stupid holiday party?
“Nothing to be done about it, now,” she told her reflection when she heard the knock on her door.
When she opened the door, her friend Becca stood on her welcome mat looking positively gorgeous like always. Her silver dress sparkled and shimmered as she walked in, which she did on impossibly high silver heels.
“Marta! I love how festive you look.”
“What are you talking about?” Marta laughed.
“Where are your shoes?” Becca looked at Marta’s stockinged feet. “Thomas is double parked in front of the building.”
“Thomas is driving?” she asked as she pulled a pair of black flats from the closet near the front door.
She slipped her feet into the shoes and snagged a black purse off the couch. Grabbing her keys from the entryway table, she followed Becca out the door, pulling it closed and locking it behind her.
Just as they stepped out of the building, a gust of wind kicked up. It gathered snow from the roof and twirled it around them in a mini powder cyclone. They giggled as they hurried to the car, where Thomas stood like a proper chauffeur with the door open.
“Ladies,” he said with a bow.
They giggled harder as they slid into the back seat and huddled together to warm up.
“Where to, Miss Poppinstot?”
Marta raised a quizzical eyebrow at Becca. Becca winked at her.
“Take us to the hotel in the center of town. The one with the tree decorated with silver bells and blue lights.”
It was the only hotel in their small town.
“I know the place, ma’am.”
Marta was an only child. She never understood the strange relationships that siblings had. She laughed so hard that she was still gasping for breath as they pulled out in front of the hotel. Thomas leapt from the car and pulled open the door.
“Ladies.” He held out his hand.
Becca took it and let him help her from the car. He held his hand out for Marta, and she hesitated.
“Of course,” she said because she didn’t know what to say as she took his hand.
It was warm, and her skin burned against his. He squeezed her hand, holding it longer than necessary. He winked as he brought it to his lips for a kiss before letting go.
He turned to close the door, and Marta stood staring at his back.
“Ready?” Becca slid her arm into the crook of Marta’s elbow and led her away from the car.
“I suppose,” she answered with one last glance over her shoulder at Thomas.
They found the party easy enough as it took over the entire main floor of the hotel. They greeted friends and acquaintances as they weaved their way to the bar. Becca seemed to know everybody.
Marta soon found herself alone trying to hold up a wall. She watched the crowd anxiously as the party grew in size. Her eyes met Thomas’s, and she felt relief when he smiled and began walking her way.
“I’m so glad I found you,” he told her.
“I’m so glad you found me, too,” she admitted.
“I’ve been wanting to talk to you,” he started.
“What about?” she asked.
He looked around, took her hand, and began walking towards the lobby. She allowed him to lead her, curious what this was all about. A group of five or six men was walking through the doorway, and Thomas turned Marta out of their path.
“You’ve gotta kiss her now,” one of the men said.
“What?” they asked in unison.
One of his companions pointed to a spot directly above Marta’s head. There, hanging from the ceiling, was a sprig of mistletoe tied with a pretty bow.
“Oh, we’re not… He’s not…” she stuttered. “You don’t have to,” she assured Thomas.
Without a word, Thomas slipped his arms around her waist and pulled her close. He captured her lips with his and poured every word he’d been trying to figure out how to say into the kiss. Her arms snaked up around his neck, and she returned the kiss with every bit as much passion as he’d given her.
The group of men hooted and hollered. Others joined in. They barely noticed as the kiss continued on.
Wishing everyone a blessed and joyous holiday. May your day be filled with peace and hope and light.
Love Sick: Stories is out now
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