Read Part 2 HERE.
Back at her apartment Lucy sits in front of her fireplace, the wood burning a golden amber as the smell of fresh pine floods the house. Back home it was always a tradition for Lucy and her family to have a real Christmas tree every year. So ever since she left she made sure to continue the tradition. It just made New York City feel like home.
As she sits there sipping a glass of red wine, trying to wind down from the day and the added stress that’s been weighing on her, Lucy’s mind begins to wander.
“Maybe you just don’t want to move on,” she hears Cami’s voice echoing loudly in her head.
Lucy gets up and walks over to her hall closet, she opens the door and takes out a small decorative box, walking back to her couch, she sits down, pondering whether or not she can actually face the contents inside.
Upon opening the box, pictures of her past hit her like a ton of bricks.
Lucy takes a deep breath in as she picks up a photo of her and Dean, spending Christmas together and smiling brightly.
Lucy’s phone rings, disrupting her walk down memory lane.
“Hey mom,” she says answering it.
“Hi hunny, how was the rest of your day?”
Her mom stands at her kitchen counter mixing a batter for fresh cookies. There is flour everywhere, and her Christmas apron is tied around her waist.
Lucy smiles to herself as she hears the faint sound of Christmas songs playing in her childhood home, over the phone.
“Stressful…yours?” Lucy says with a slight sigh.
“Well you know – the usual – busy Christmas season at the shop, everyone loves their real trees!”
“Of course, I know the feeling well,” Lucy says walking over to her own tree and feeling a branch. Leaning in she smells the fresh pine scent.
“How’s the tree stock this year?” she asks.
“It’s wonderful we’ve got Norway Spruce, Douglas Fir, Noble Fir, Cedar, Monterey Pine, and Sierra Redwood, your father has a really good selection this year.”
“Oh well that’s good. I’m sure the town is really excited about that!” She makes an effort to be cheerful.
“Hunny have you decided if you’ll come home? I really truly think it’ll be good for you.”
Lucy looks over at the photo laying on her coffee table, along with the rest of the box of mementos she shared with Dean over the years.
“You promise he won’t be there?” Lucy asks, the pain in her voice evident.
“Oh sweetie, I can’t make promises based on other people’s actions, you know that. All’s I can truly attest to is that he hasn’t been home since he left. But I can promise that we will have the most magical Christmas together as a family. Just like old times.”
“Just like old times, huh?” Lucy ponders with a smile, looking at the twinkling silver lights on her tree.
“Not for nothing, I could really use one of Grandma Addie’s famous s’mores hot chocolates, right about now.”
“Oh perfect! …Does that mean you’ll come?”
“I guess so,” Lucy laughs.
“Hunny I can’t tell you how happy that makes me! I can’t wait to tell everyone!”
“Tell them I can’t wait to see them.”
“I most certainly will, you just call when you are on your way and someone will be there to pick you up at the airport.”
“Mom, it’s really okay the flight isn’t long at all, I can just take a cab over.”
“Are you crazy? You haven’t been home in over a year, someone will meet you. You know we give proper welcome homes here in Oakland Valley.”
Lucy laughs, knowing not to challenge her mom.
“Ok, mom, I’ll see you soon. I love you.”
“Love you too! See you soon.”
Lucy hangs up the phone. She sighs and dials another number.
“Hey Cami… did you ever buy that ticket to Oakland?”
“Already done boss, confirmation is in your email if you check it.”
“How’d you know I’d end up going?”
“Because you need to.”
“Thank you Cami, and Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas boss.”
Lucy hangs up the phone and looks back at the photos of her and Dean.
“Please, let this be the right thing,” she whispers to herself.
Lucy drags her feet across the floor and into her bed room, grabbing a suitcase from her closet she begins to pack and head home.
To be continued…
*I do not take credit for the images used in my edits or otherwise.*