The Package at the Door

Artist Bill Randall; photo: picssr.com

Artist Bill Randall; photo: picssr.com

Romantic Flash Fiction 22:

She came as a package in the mail.

I had no idea what to expect when the post office rang and said they were sending over a last minute gift to the house and wondered if I would be home to receive it. “Sure,” I muttered and slipped out of bed in my flannel jammies and slippers that patted the ice cold tile floor across the living room to the front of the house.

I shivered and rubbed my arms. I swear if I exhaled long, I would have seen my breath. It was time to light up the fireplace. Since the late night postal deliverer would have been delayed due to the snow, I grabbed a couple logs and tossed them into the hearth. It was dry and within minutes, the small flame had turned into a roaring fire. So much for Santa coming down the chimney tonight, I snickered to myself.

It was almost a half an hour later when the doorbell rang. I had been sipping a mug of hot chocolate by the fire with my feet up on the ottoman, forcing my eyes to stay open. It was a hell of a life working military dispatch at the end of snowy forever. No friends, but at least no enemies on Christmas Eve. But the aching loneliness never dissipated. I thought it might. I thought I could control myself and settle down for the evening without company, without parties, without all the fanfare of the holidays, but I was wrong. Nothing filled that emptiness. I dwelt on the Christmas story and remembered a silent night and a bright star that shone in the darkness, and I closed my eyes and started humming the tune. And then I thought of her, wondering what she was doing tonight and how long it would be until I saw her again. With my eyes closed, I imagined her hair, her eyes, her delicate face, her sensuous curves. That was where I was when the doorbell rang.

The postman had me sign. “Heck of a night to be working, Sam,” I said to the postman who shrugged. He always shrugged. It was his way of dealing with his loneliness. He had his way and I had mine. Only… Just then I noticed that instead of a package, a tall blonde woman stepped up to the doorway sporting a Santa hat and wrapped in white mink from head to toe. She grinned at me mischievously and dangled an empty mail bag from her finger.

My smile grew wide with recognition and what began on the outside slowly found its way in. Way into my heart. I felt warmth fill my body as if the hot chocolate had finally worked its magic through every limb and crevice and even into my bloodstream. My heart was pumping love, and I couldn’t even feel my feet anymore. For a second, I wondered if I was flying or levitating, and I swallowed hard, glancing down at my feet to see that they were still planted firmly on the floor. When I gazed back into her eyes, she must have seen the light of love glistening in mine, and she matched my smile with her blush.

“Well, don’t let me wait out here in the cold all night,” she pouted playfully.

“It’s just,” I hesitated, my throat hardly able to find the words. “You weren’t due back until next week.”

“I couldn’t wait, darling,” she said, her eyes on fire with that same love that burst from my heart like fireworks on New Year’s Day. We both knew what this meant. We both knew what kind of Christmas Eve we would have now.

“Get in here,” I said, pulling her mink and meeting her lips with mine even before she stepped inside.

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