Chapter 3

Christmas Eve Will Find Me by Emily


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Synopsis: What does the next day bring for David?

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“You know my name?” I said to Diggs.


He groaned as if he just tripped up. “I was at the scene of the crash the other night. You were mumbling a whole load of nonsense. Including your name.”


“But you believed me? No one else did.”


“Others from the outside world have come and gone. The same thing always happens.”


“They… always hit the Christmas tree?”


“What?” Diggs looked at me like I was an idiot. “No. Everyone has their own story. This is yours.”


My own story? What the hell does that mean? “You said others have come and gone. How did they leave? I want to go home.”


“I’ve said too much already,” Diggs said, shaking his head. 


“I want to go home.” I protested.


“Not until you finish fixing the tree.” Diggs replied firmly.


“Again about the tree!” I said. “It’s fake. The town’s fake. Everything’s fake!”


“No!” Diggs said firmly. “Everything here is real. The people are real, the town is real. Fix the town tree then I can help you get home.”


With that, Diggs took his cart full of toys and quickly walked away from me. Shit. I had so many questions. Was Diggs behind all of this? What was his motivation? What’s the endgame? Is this some Christmas Carol bullshit? Am I supposed to have a Christmas epiphany and have my heart grow three sizes?


Clair showed up from the other side of the store. “What was that all about?” she asked as we watched Diggs walk away.


I shrugged. He’s behind all of this. I’m sure of it. I need more answers. I noticed Claire's cart was filled to the brim with ornaments. “Let’s just pay for this and go.”


We returned back to Clarie’s house and I went straight to Laura’s bedroom and flopped onto the bed. I wanted to think and plan how I’m going to get home and what I need to ask Diggs next time I see him. But that’s not how it went. It was a long day and I passed out once my head hit the pillow.


* * *


I woke up in Laura’s bedroom, disoriented. Second morning in a row I woke up somewhere different. I let out an annoyed groan. I really wanted to wake up in my own bedroom, but I’m still in this world until I figure out a way out of it.


I sat up in bed and smelled myself. I hadn’t showered once while here in Fairview. In fact, I’m still wearing my clothes from the accident. 


Maybe it’s time to change that.


I went to the shower and turned the water on. I proceed to disrobe all of my clothes. I was then standing there in Laura’s bathroom naked like I was in the hospital yesterday. She certainly is an attractive woman. I could certainly get used to waking up, looking at this every morning.


Wait, that’s not what I meant. I meant I’d love to wake up with her by my side. Yeah, I don’t want to be her. That’s crazy.


After a nice long hot shower where I got to clean parts of my body I’ve never had before, I walked out to my room with a towel draped over my shoulders. It’s cold in this house, and my “high beams” were on. I opened up all of the drawers in Laura’s room looking for something to wear. 


I found her underwear drawer. I put on panties. Normally I’m a boxers kinda guy. But the tightness of the panties felt nice considering I had nothing down there to crush. I saw the bras in the drawer but didn’t want to go through the struggle of putting that on again. Could I get by going braless? I saw a sports bra and was relieved. That looks much easier than a real bra. I put that on over my head and shimmied the stretchy fabric over my chest. Snug. I was slightly disappointed that my breasts looked much smaller and compact under the sports bra. 


No. Laura’s breasts. Not mine.


I stared at the closet for several minutes wearing just the bra and panties. What should I wear? Since I was shivering, my eyes were on the warmer outfits, although there were bright eye-popping dresses hanging up I’d love to see Laura in. Wow, that’s a sexy red dress right there. Too cold for that.


I saw several red and green sweaters. I refuse to wear something Christmas-y. So I pulled out a black sweater. It felt warm and soft in my hands, so I quickly pulled it over my head.


I then moved on to pants. I pulled out another pair of jeans when I saw leggings and tights. I knew women always said leggings were super comfortable. I pondered that for a moment, put the jeans back and pulled out the leggings. I pulled those on and realized that yes, leggings are comfy.


Then I realized I was wearing black on black. It’s fine because black fits my mood. Bah humbug, Mr Diggs.


I left my room and saw Claire sitting at the kitchen table sipping some coffee. There was a stack of pancakes in front of her.


“I made breakfast,” she said cheerfully. She looked me over. “All black?”


“It’s Christmas, I’m in mourning,” I said.


“Is that why you don't have makeup on either?”


“I didn’t have time to learn,” I replied.


She shrugged and gave me a fork and plate. 


* * *


After breakfast, I borrowed Claire’s car again and drove into town. I stood in the middle of Fairview’s townsquare wondering to myself how in the hell was I going to do this. In front of me, at the scene of the accident, was the brand new tree I picked out. It was a plain tree of course. I had all of the lights and decorations packed behind me in the car. 


I returned to the car, pulled out a spool of lights and looked back at the 30 feet tree. This looked very daunting. I had until tomorrow right? What time tomorrow?


I then heard a sweet voice behind me. “Need help?”


I turned around to see Liz and John standing there beside a pickup truck..


“What are you guys doing here?” I asked.


“We came to help.” John said. “One person can’t do this alone.”


Ain’t that the truth. I looked at the tree, then back at John and Liz. “Three people will get this done much faster than one,” I said. “Thank you.”


Now the 3 of us stood there in silence staring at the tall tree.


“That’s a tall tree.” Liz said.


“How do we get up there?” John said.


“You’re the tree experts.” I said.


“I just sell them, we don’t decorate them.”


Liz laughed. “Damn right, I have to decorate our tree at home.” She paused for a moment, raised her eyebrows and smiled. “I have an idea.”


I noticed Liz looking into the distance. What was she looking at? I followed her line of sight to the other side of the street where there was a firehouse. And in the front of the firehouse was a fire truck. And in front of that fire truck was a familiar firefighter washing the firetruck with a hose.


“No.” I said to Liz.


“How else are you going to get up there?” Liz said, smiling at me.


So against my better judgment, I let Liz saunter over to the fire station and strike up a conversation with yesterday’s savior.


Minutes later, the firetruck pulled up next to our cars and the ladder was extended to the top of the tree. The firefighter’s name was Bradley. It took very little convincing for Liz to get Brad’s help.


I tossed up the first spool of lights up to Brad as he started unrolling the lights around the tree.


“Laura.” Liz said. “I love the outfit. It’s cute.”


Me? Cute? This outfit? “I just threw it on this morning.”


Over the next hour, the 4 of us decorated the tree. I spent my time flirting with Liz. She was nervous about the bake off later. I helped tell jokes to keep her mind off of it. I would catch Brad smiling and flirting with Liz too. And of course, John was there to flirt with me.


I was hanging an ornament on a branch when Liz came by and hung an ornament right next to me. Our hands brushed. That electric feeling returned like yesterday. 


I looked at her and she smiled and walked back to the pile of ornaments.


Just then a car pulled up. I saw a young boy around 7 or 8 years old get out of the back door and run to Brad. “Daddy!” he said. The car pulled away.


“How was your Aunt's house?” Brad asked.


“It was good,” he said.


“You have a son?” Liz said to Brad. “I love kids. Well hello there,” she said to the boy. “What’s your name?”


“Eric” he said. “You’re cute. Dad, is this the lady talked about yesterday? The one you saved from the fire?”


Liz looked shocked and Brad turned red.


“Kids say the darndest things.” Brad chuckled with embarrassment.


“I asked Santa for a new mom for Christmas.” Eric said matter of factly to Liz.


Liz continued to have a shocked look on her face. “That’s so sweet,” she said.


I intervened. “Hey kiddo. Do you want to hang something up?”


Eric eyed me. “Are you the lady who crashed into the tree?”


Brad’s right, kids do say the darndest things. “That was someone else,” I replied. “Someone who looks like me. But not me. My evil twin.”


I saw John chuckle out of the corner of my eye.


“The ornaments are over there.” I said. “There’s a few candy canes. No one will notice if one went missing.”


“Awesome” the boy said, running over to the decorations, grabbing a candy cane and running back to his father and Liz. 


Wait, put an ornament up, kid. Ungrateful shit.


I continued to look at Liz who was chatting up Brad and Eric. I saw her glance over in my direction and give me a smile.


“Kids are precious,” John said from behind me. Ugh. Is he still trying to plant his seed in me?


Liz looked over at me and smiled. I feel like this movie does not want me and Liz to happen.


“What are you doing later tonight?” John asked. “If you’re not too busy, we can go to the parade and maybe have a nice stroll through the town. Grab some hot chocolates…”


“I don’t know John.” I said. “I may have to get home soon.”


“But it’s Christmas,” he said with a gigantic smile.


Does that really work in movies?


“If not tonight, there’s the Christmas ball tomorrow evening.” John continued


I noticed a woman sitting on a park bench watching us. Was she crying?


Before John could get on his knees and beg for a date, I said, “excuse me.” and went to see what was up with the crying lady. I usually don't care about the problems of complete strangers, but any excuse to get away from Casanova over there. “Miss?” I said. “Are you OK?”


“I’m fine.” she said. She rubbed her eyes and sat up straight in embarrassment “I have cold feet.”


I looked down. Her boots like appropriate footwear for the current weather. “Do you need a new pair of shoes?”


“No,” she said. “Cold feet. I’m getting married tonight.”


“Oh.” I replied. Why didn’t I realize that? “You’re getting married on a Thursday?”


“Well that’s better than getting married on Christmas, right?” she let out a chuckle through her tears.


“Fair enough.” I said. “I’ve never been married. So I can’t really be of much help.”


“I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing.” she said. “I only met him last week. What a whirlwind romance.”


“Last week?” I said. “And tonight’s the wedding? Jesus, you people in this town move fast.” If I’m not careful, I’ll wind up married and knocked up before I leave to go home. “So is that why you have cold feet?”


“Well, last week I told myself I’d never fall in love. I’ve had so many bad dates and boyfriends. I had resigned myself to being alone and single. But my fiance. He’s not like the rest..”


I hid my face as I rolled my eyes. I need an equally cliched answer for her. “You.. um.. Can’t know happiness until you let it in.”


She nodded. “You’re right. I let it in last week. And holy shit am I afraid.”


I nodded. “Yeah, putting yourself out there is scary.” 


“I’m sorry for dumping this on you.” she said. “I heard about your crash. And despite that it looks like you’re having a blast out there with your friends. I shouldn’t keep you from them.”


“Oh, you heard about that?” I chuckled.


“Small town.” she replied.


My friends? I glanced back at John, Liz, Brad, and Eric. Those aren’t my friends. I paused at that thought. Or are they? Who are my friends? Bob? Shelly? Maria? Would any of them have shown up to help me with this tree?


I nodded to the woman and walked back to the tree. It looked nearly done. I could tell by the sun that it was still midday. We actually got this done much quicker than I thought. I guess it helps when you have 4 adults and a fire truck ladder. Or maybe time moves faster in the movies. I couldn’t be sure.


I returned to the tree where Eric was placing an ornament on the tree. The ornament depicted a praying woman.


“This one looks like my mother,” he said, examining the ornament.


“Where is your mom?” I asked. The moment I said it I realized I shouldn’t have. It was fairly obvious John was a widower. Plus I don’t get involved with strangers' problems, I reminded myself.


“She met Jesus last Christmas,” he responded.


That was a gut punch. Fuck. How does one respond to that? What is wrong with this movie?


Eric walked back over to his father, and I followed him back over to the adults.


“The last part of the tree!” Liz announced, holding up the star tree-topper. “Laura, you need to do the honors.”


I took the star. “How?”


Brad motioned me to the firetruck.


“Am I allowed to?” I said.


“I won't say anything.” he replied.


Thanks Brad. When I woke this morning, claiming a fire truck wasn't on the things I expected to be doing. I took the star and started climbing the firetruck and then the ladder. I swear to God, if Brad is trying to kill me to get to Liz…


I felt the ladder ascend and move closer to the top of the tree. I extended the star, and plugged it into the adjacent string of lights. “Done” I said. Then the ladder started lowering.


I climbed off the firetruck and walked to the power lever. I grabbed the lever and looked at John, Liz, Brad, Eric and the woman on the bench. They were looking forward to this. They were excited. Their excitement made me a little excited too. This isn’t like my office party. They were looking up to me. I was the one helping make their holiday a little brighter.


“Drum roll” John said as the others started patting their thighs.


I chucked. “Um, we tested these things right?” I switched the lever on and the tree came to life with vivid color.


The woman from the bench came up to me. “Thank you” she said, hugging me. “That’s exactly what I needed.”


“But I didn't do anything,” I said.


“You showed me how much fun I could be having. You and your friends. How you’re just letting life… in. You looked like you were having so much fun. I have that too. My fiance. He’s waiting for me. I was just afraid of getting hurt.”


Wait, but I wasn’t having fun. “But there’s always the possibility of getting hurt.” I said.


“What’s your name?” she asked.


“Da- Laura,” I replied. “Laura Williams”


“Well, Laura,” she said. “You’re right. There is always the possibility of getting hurt. But it’s better to have loved and lost and to never have loved at all right?”


With that, she said bye and walked off.


Stupid movie cliches. This town is going to be the death of me.


The townspeople who were only seconds ago going about their own business and shopping started to take notice of the new tree. Some people oohed and ahhed. Some people clapped. Some people started singing “O Christmas Tree”


OK, now that the tree is done, I need to find Mr. Diggs and get out of Whoville. 


“Let’s go ice skating!” Liz said excitedly pointing across the street at a temporary outdoor ice rink.


“Oh I don’t know.” I said. “I should probably go home. Don’t you have to get ready for your bakeoff?”


“We have time.” she said. Liz pulled me to the ring as John, Brad and Eric followed.


We all paid for admission and skate rentals. Liz and Brad were the first ones out on the ice. Well of course they were. 


I just finished tying my skates when John held his hand out for me. I took his hand and he helped stand me up. Thanking him for the assist, I skated away from him.


Liz came by my side. “Hey stranger.” she said.


“Hey Liz” I said, forcing a smile.


“Today has been so much fun.” she said. “What do you have planned for tonight?”


Is she trying to get me to go out with John? “Well” I said. “I was planning to go home.”


“And my bakeoff? And the parade?”


I chuckled. “I’d love to watch the bakeoff. No promises on the parade though.”


She giggled and left my side. I then saw Brad and Eric skate to her side. 


I saw the three of them laughing.


I pouted. This movie sucks.


John skated up by my side. “Jealousy doesn't look good on you.” he said to me.


“Wait, what?” I said. I had expected him to continue to flirt with me.


“Your secret is safe with me.” he said, winking. “If I’m going to lose you, I’d rather lose you to my twin sister.”


I was stunned. I expected to have to deal with John flirting with me for the rest of my time in Fairview. He just surrendered. And he surrendered to his… “You’re twins?”


“I thought you knew that,” he said. “We were all in the same grade. Liz and I have the same birthday.”


“Right.” I said. “It’s just you look nothing alike.”


“Fraternal twins,” he replied. “What can I say?”


“I don’t think she’s into me, though.” I said. “I think she’d rather be with Bradley.


John shrugged. “The Laura I know wouldn’t give up like that.”


But I’m not Laura. I'm currently in her body though, and there’s zero indication that Liz is into girls. Maybe this would be easier if I was David.


What would David do? David wouldn’t have spent the last 24 hours flirting with this attractive brunette, helping her bake, put up a Christmas tree and go ice skating. OK, so that’s no help.


Then what would Laura do? Let’s find out.


I skated up to Liz, Brad and Eric. “Hey Eric, they’re selling hot chocolate over there.”


“Oh!” he said. “Daddy can I have some?”


“I dunno.” Brad said.


“With marshmallows” I added.


“Pleeeeeese,” Eric begged. “It’s Christmas!”


“OK.” Brad caved. “Well be back,” he said as he and Eric skated away. 


Success!


Liz giggled as she watched the father and son leave the rink.


“Now that the boys are gone.” I said, chuckling at the irony of that statement.


I saw John on the outside of the rink. He must’ve decided he didn’t want to be a third wheel. “Liz, show her some of your moves!” he yelled.


“Moves?” I asked.


“I used to figure skate.” she said.


“Oh really.” I said. “Did you ever complete?”


“Locally” she said. “I hurt my knee when I was 15. That ruined any chance at competing.”


“That sucks,” I said. “I’m sorry to hear that.”


She skated in front of me and did a spin right there.


“Very nice” I said.


“Wanna see something cool?” she asked. “Take my hand.”


“Umm. Sure.” I replied. I took her extended hand.


She started pulling me. Suddenly I found myself going in a very fast circle. Oh boy.


“Liz” I said. “This is too fast. I’m not really a skater…”


Then suddenly I lost my footing, and I fell onto the ice. I was still holding onto Liz, and she fell on top of me. We were both laughing. She was so close to me. I looked into her eyes. I wanted to kiss her.


“Wasn’t that cool?” she asked.


“Very.” I said. Our eyes were still locked. For a moment I thought it was gonna happen.


I didn’t. 


Instead, Liz got up and helped me get up right.


“I need to get home to get ready for the bake off” Liz announced.


I was suddenly disappointed. I didn’t even want to stay and ice skate. Now all I wanted to do was stay with Liz.


We both skated to the exit and exchanged our skates for our shoes.


She came up and hugged me and whispered into my ear. “I had a fun afternoon, Laura. See you tonight.”


I watched John and Liz go to their pickup truck. I felt giddy. Was she really dropping hints that she was interested too?


Brad and Eric returned with matching hot chocolates. 


“Where did everyone go?” Brad asked.


Sorry Brad, everything’s fair in love and war.


“Thank you Miss Laura,” Eric said. “This is the most fun I’ve had since…”


“Merry Christmas, Eric” I said so he couldn’t finish that sentence.


* * *


I returned back to Claire’s house where she was watching TV. 


“I'm home” I announced. I don’t usually announce that I'm home, since I live alone, but since I’m a stranger in this house, it felt polite.


“The car shop called.” she said. “Your car is ready.”


“Already?” I asked. “It’s only been a day.”


She shrugged. “Jim does amazing things with cars.”


I shrugged then I noticed something familiar about the program on TV that Claire was watching. It was my office in the real world. “What’s this?” I asked, amazed at what I was seeing. 


“One of those cheesy Christmas movies.” Claire replied.


I watched the TV screen featuring my co-workers. God it was like watching security footage.


“Shouldn't we invite David?” Shelley asked from the TV.


“I did.” Bob replied. “Multiple times. He doesn’t want to be here.”


“Poor guy,” Shelley said. “It must be lonely being him.”


“Nah” Bob replied. “He’s never mentioned being unhappy being alone. Have any of you been to his place? Zero photos of family or friends.”


“He doesn’t have any.” Maria chimed in. “I think that’s the way he likes it. I went on a few dates with him last year. Despite being lonely, he’s pretty self-centered and doesn’t care to get to know anyone. I asked him questions about him, and he never bothered to get to know me.”


“That’s not true,” I said to the TV. I took interest in her. Her family's from.. um. and she went to school at… um. Crap. I was torn on whether I simply forgot or whether I never asked.


“Alright everyone” Elliot chimed in. “Let’s not gossip about our co-worker.”


“Thank you Elliot,” I replied to the TV.


Claire looked at me. “Have you seen this one before?”


Elliot continued. “Although I’ve tried to get to know him too. Like I get to know all of you. He’s turned me down multiple times. Some people just prefer to be alone. And that’s OK.”


“But I don’t want to be alone,” I replied. “I just…”


Claire continued to stare at me. “Laura, are you OK? How did today go?”


“It went well,” I said. “The tree is up.”


I couldn't watch anymore. I left the living room and went to my bedroom. I mean Laura’s bedroom.


Why am I so flustered? Was it listening to my so-called friends talk about me behind my back? Was it because Liz has been giving me interesting signals? Was it because I wanted to go home?


Actually, home can wait. I wanted to go find Liz.


I looked at the time on my phone. I have a few hours before the bakeoff.


I paced the bedroom trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I found myself opening the closet door. 


I found a cute forest green sweater dress. I took off the black sweater and replaced it with the sweater dress.


I looked in the mirror and smoothed out the dress. I posed in the mirror.


I look cute. But I want to amaze Liz. She said I looked cute this morning. And I didn’t even try. What if I tried?


I took the dress off, then I took the sports bra off and retrieved a real bra. I pulled out my phone and googled how to put on a bra. I watched a quick video. Oh. Well that makes sense. I put the bra on, then put the dress back on, and returned to the mirror. I smoothed the dress again. I adjusted my boobs. I posed in the mirror and smiled. “Good evening, Liz” I said to the mirror as I posed. 


If I was going to go all out I needed one more thing.


“Mom,” I called. “Can you do my makeup?”


* * *


Claire dropped me off to pick up my car - or rather Laura’s car. I never actually saw that car from the outside. It was a cute little red car. I drove it and returned to the town square. People were crowded around several tables with desserts on it. I saw judges going around judging the food. There were various cookies, pies, cakes, and several fruitcakes.


I found Liz standing next to her entry of cookies. “How’s it going?” I asked her.


“The judges are not showing any emotion,'' she said. “I’m worried. Maybe I overdid it on the chocolate chips.”


“You’re gonna do fine.” I said. “I tasted some of your cookie dough yesterday.”


“Was that before or after you burned my kitchen down?” she said, giving me side-eye.


“I said I’m sor-”


She then nudged me. “I’m just screwing with you, Laura.”


I chuckled nervously. 


She looked at me from head to toe. “Girl, you look amazing.”


“Thank you” I said, gushing at the compliment.


She turned her attention back to the judges. “I dunno.” she added. “They keep looking over at fruitcake #4.”


“Your cookies are NOT losing to a fruitcake.” I said. “I will tear that tree down and announce that Christmas is over!”


That got Liz to laugh.


“Oh, I think the judges are ready,” she said.


The crowd noise went down to a whisper.


A judge - an older woman with a sash that said “judge” grabbed a microphone. “In 3rd place.” she said. “Pumpkin Pie #3 by Joyce Weathers.”


There was applause, and Joyce Weathers gracily accepted her 3rd place ribbon.


“In 2nd place” the judge continued. “Apple Pie #5 by Leigh Betty” 


More applause as an older woman received her ribbon.


“And in 1st place…”


“I’m so nervous,” Liz said. “Oh no, I think the fruitcake won.”


“Shhh” I said to Liz and I rubbed her upper arms.


“Cookies #4 by Elizabeth Miller.”


“I won!” Liz said excitedly. She went to the judge and received her 1st place ribbon.


“Congratulations” I said to Liz and she gave me a hug. “When you’re a rich and famous baker will you remember me?”


She giggled. “Thank you for everything, Laura,” she said. 


“For what?” I said. “I didn't do anything. I caused one of your batches of cookies to burn.”


“Just for being here.” she said. “I know you didn’t have to be. And I know you wanted to stay home.”


“I want to be here.” I said. “With you.” Oh God, that sounded cheesy. “I mean, I’m enjoying myself.”


“Me too,” she said with a smile. 


Wait, was she saying she wanted to be here with me or was she saying that she’s enjoying herself? Both can be true right?


It was at this point I realized John wasn’t here. Shouldn’t he have been here for his sister?


As the crowd dissipated, I saw a group of people singing. “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” nearby. So did Liz. She turned to me and said “Do you want to go caroling?”


Before I could say no, she tugged my arm and led me to the group of carolers. 


One woman who was singing saw us, didn’t stop singing and handed Liz a song book.


Liz flipped pages to find “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. She found the spot in the song where the carolers currently were, and pointed to the pages with her finger.


She started singing. Wow she’s got a great voice.


I looked at her and smiled.


She looked at me while singing, and smiled back. She did a head nod for me to start singing as well.


Ugh, I can’t sing. I looked at the page and started mumbling the words “Good tidings we bring to you and your kin.”


I didn’t realize it, but the group of carolers started walking. Liz and I followed. Where were we walking to?


I was so focused on reading the lyrics, singing, and smiling at Liz, that I didn’t notice that on either side of us were people lined the street watching us.


The parade must be soon. I turned around to see a float behind us. Oh God. Are we in the parade?


Just then I felt Liz grab and hold my hand. A warm feeling spread through me. I’m OK with this. I kept singing.


* * *


When we got to the end of the parade route, Liz handed back the songbook and the carolers dispersed. 


I turned to Liz. “You have an amazing voice.” I said. “Where’d you learn to sing?”


“I was in chorus all through school.” she said. “My mom was a singer.”


I didn’t want to dwell on our parents.


“She liked you, you know,” she added.


I looked at her confused.


“She always thought that you and John were going to get married. She joked and sometimes would call you her future daughter-in-law.”


“I’m sorry it didn't work out like that,” I said.


Quick. I need to change the subject to something happier. I noticed a cafe that has a sign of their specials on the sidewalk.. I looked at Liz. It’s time for me to be a little more spontaneous. “Eggnog?”


“Sure,” she said.


I went to the cafe’s outdoor counter and ordered 2 cups of eggnog. I handed one to Liz and I paid for them both.


“So you can sing,” I said, “you can skate, you can bake, you can run a tree farm. What can’t you do?”


“I can’t whistle,” she said, taking a sip of eggnog. She puckered her lips to whistle but only inaudible air came out.


I laughed.


“Laura,” she said.


“Yeah?”


“Do you see what I see?” She pointed across the street to a park. Parked there was a horse, attached to an ornate open air carriage. “Let’s ride it.”


“It’s a one horse open sleigh,” I said.


“When’s the last time you did something so cliche?” she asked.


Before or after I arrived in Fairview? “Never.”


We walked across the street. I paid the driver, and helped Liz up onto the carriage. She pulled me up too.


Slowly the horses started to trot.


We both sipped our eggnog as we made our way down the street. The clopping of the horses and the gentle jingle of the bells adorning the carriage. All that’s missing is…


It started flurrying.


This was going well. Too well. How was I going to screw it up?


I was reminded of the TV show of my coworkers I watched earlier. Maria said I never took interest in her. What did I know about Liz? Well I know she’s John’s twin and helps run their tree farm. I know she went to school with Laura. I know she likes to cook and sing. She used to figure skate. I know her parents are deceased. I should ask more.


I turned to Liz. “Tell me about...”


Just then Liz put her hand on my cheek and kissed me.


Our lips touching sent a flood of warm emotions through my body and I kissed back.


She was the first one to separate. She had a giddy smile on her face. I’m sure my smile was the same.


I spoke up first. “I wasn’t sure that you…”


“I noticed you checking me out and flirting with me since yesterday.” she said.


I chuckled. “You noticed that, eh?”


“Yeah.” she said. “You were rather obvious about it.”


“I’ve never been a good flirt.” I admitted. “Umm.. what about Brad?”


“Brad?” she said. “Sure, he’s cute. He’s nice. He’s a firefighter and I’m sure he’s built like one too. But.. I’ve had plenty of dates with guys just like Brad.”


“I was getting jealous of him.” I chuckled.


She chuckled too, and let her laugh trail off. “Laura” she said in a somber tone.


“Yeah?”


“I wanted to share something personal about me.”


“OK” I said. I put my hand out and held hers.


“There’s one other thing I can’t do.”


“What’s that?”


“I um…” she wiped a tear away from her cheek. “I can’t have children.”


I was silent. Damn this movie sucks. 


“I’ve dated so many guys,” she continued. “and while a lot of them seem great.. They all end the same way when I tell them. Sure they deny it and they don’t dump me right away. But I know. I know.”


I squeezed her hand. Now I’m disappointed I ruined the mood by bringing up Brad.


She leaned into me and we rode the rest of the way in the carriage in silence.


When the carriage stopped we were back in the town square. I got out of the carriage first and I helped Liz down.


I heard a voice from behind us call my name. “Laura”


I turned to see the woman from the park earlier peeking her head out of the window. Except now she was in a wedding dress, and she was accompanied by a guy in a tuxedo “Oh hi!” I said. “Congratulations. Both of you.”


“Thank you! Honey, this is Laura Williams. She’s a miracle worker.”


I chuckled. “I wouldn’t say that.”


Liz held my hand and smiled at me.


“Do you have another miracle up your sleeve?” the groom asked.


“Like what?” I asked, curiously.


“We’re in the middle of the reception but we have no music.” the bride said.


“What happened to your music?” I asked.


“Our singer came down with a cold and our backup won’t be here for 20 minutes. Our guests are getting restless. You wouldn’t happen to know a singer would you?”


I glanced at Liz and raised my eyebrow.


“I haven’t sung in front of anyone since Chorus in school.” Liz protested.


“You just caroled in the parade.”


“That’s different.”


“Please,” the bride said.


* * *


I stood in the back of the ballroom and watched Liz get up in front of the wedding band. She looked nervous standing there in front of the microphone.


The band started playing a swing melody then backed off for the singer.


Liz took a breath and sang. “Take back the holly and mistletoe. Silver bells on a string”


Her voice was amazing. I saw the bride and groom start slow dancing. Just listening to her is making me melt. Was I falling for her? For this fictional character in this movie universe?


A voice came from beside me. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”


I turned to see Mr Diggs there. “I’m um.. Enjoying a wedding. I finished the tree in record time.”


“Sure, you did good on the tree.” he said. “I’m talking about that.” he pointed to Liz.


“What about Liz?”


“You’re screwing with the story. You’re supposed to be dating John, not his sister.”


“You told me this was my story, so I decided to change it.”


“You’re supposed to be having a fling with John. Elizabeth is supposed to be with Bradley.”


“So?”


“So you’ll be going home shortly, and you’ll be leaving behind a mess.”


“How so?”


“Your disappearance will crush her. Her only hope was to date Brad and help raise his son, Eric.”


“I thought this place would cease to exist after I went home.”


“I said this place is real, David. These people are real. When you leave, everyone in town will continue their lives. And now you’ve interfered with them.”


“You told me to relax and let go of my past,” I said. “I was having fun. For the first Christmas in forever.”


“Not like this,” he said.


“Who’s to say which is the right way?” I said. Whoever dropped me into this movie shouldn’t have put me into Laura’s body.  Maybe I should’ve gone into John’s body and dated Laura.  But then I wouldn’t have fallen in love with Liz.


“You’re leaving David. You’re going home. In a couple minutes. You were leading Elizabeth on.”


I was silent. Was I really going home in a couple minutes? I was ready to go home this morning. I was even ready to go home after putting up the tree. Why am I hesitant now?


Liz and I made eye contact. She sang, “You are the angel atop my tree. You are my dream come true”


I fell in love with her. It only took me a day. Here I was making fun of the bride for falling in love in a week. I was just as gullible.


She looked directly at me and smiled. She finished singing. “Cause all I want for Christmas is you.”


One thought filled my mind as I watched her on that stage singing to me. What if I stayed?


The song ended and Liz left the stage as the band started playing an instrumental. “How did I do?”


“You were amazing.” I said.


“Hello Mr. Diggs.” Liz said.


“Hi Elizabeth,” he said. “Laura needs to tell you something.”


“Laura, what is it?” she asked.


“Liz.” I said, signed. “I have to go home.”


“Now? Will I see you tomorrow? The Christmas ball is tomorrow.”


“I don’t think I’m coming back,” I said.


I saw the joy in her face get sucked away. She nodded her head. I hurt her. 


She hugged me and I hugged her back. “Take care, Laura. I had fun.”


“Me too.” I replied.  “This was the most memorable Christmas I've ever had.”


“Let’s go,” Diggs said. 


Liz and I parted ways, and I could hear the bride yell, “Bye Laura. Thank you!”


“What was the point of all of this?” I asked Diggs. “Was I supposed to get into the Christmas spirit or some bullshit like that?”


“To find yourself,” he said. “You were lost.”


“Am I found now?” I asked.


“Are you?”


I shrugged. I continued walking to my car. I started the engine. On the radio, “I’ll be home for Christmas” was playing. 


I felt dizzy and closed my eyes. The music stopped and all other sounds faded.


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Emily

Hi, I'm Emily and I'm writing Gender Transformation Fiction! This site is a place for my to keep all of my stories in one place. I'm also a software developer in the daytime, so this site will also be a proving ground of cool new features that pop into my head. Feel free to message me on Twitter or at my Discord Server! You can also find me on TGStorytime.com and FictionMania.tv.

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marter

Ouch. That was really emotional to read send then to have it all pulled away at the end.
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Emily

Well there's one more chapter left. Hopefully our MC can safe Christmas for themself.
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