‘Carm, wake up.’
Carmilla groans. She turns around and wraps her arms around her girlfriend, partly for comfort, but mostly so now Laura’s arms are trapped and she can’t shake her any further to wakefulness. God, why did she have to fall for a morning person? ‘Five more minutes,’ she groans, and buries her face in Laura’s shoulder.
‘Carm!’ Laura starts poking her in her side.
‘Are we in the middle of another apocalypse?’ Carmilla asks.
‘Then it can wait five minutes.’
‘No, it can’t,’ Laura says, and the poking turns into tickling.
Carmilla quickly scoots to the far side of the bed. When she’s out of reach of Laura’s fingers, she opens her eyes just enough that she can glare at her girlfriend. ‘Fine. I’m awake. Why am I awake?’
Laura sits up with a beaming smile. ‘Because it’s December!’ she cheers, throwing her hands up in the air.
‘Christmas,’ Laura says like it should be obvious. ‘It’s our first Christmas in our apartment. We get to decide how to decorate. We could throw a Christmas party.’ She crawls across the sheets until she’s next Carmilla. Brushing her hand through Carmilla’s hair, she leans in. ‘We’—she plants a kiss on Carmilla’s lips—‘can’—a kiss on her nose—‘make’—a kiss on her cheek—‘our own’—a nip at her jaw—‘traditions.’
‘Hmm, I like where this is going,’ Carmilla purrs. She slides a hand up Laura’s thigh.
‘Like setting the tree set up on December 1st,’ Laura says. She pulls away and rolls over Carmilla, out of bed. ‘Come on!’
‘Oh god,’ Carmilla groans. She glances at the alarm clock and groans again. ‘At 5 in the morning?’
‘Which means we’re already late.’ Laura pulls the covers off Carmilla.
‘Come on! Chop, chop! We have a tree to find and decorations to buy!’
‘Nothing’s even open at this hour,’ Carmilla grumbles as she pushes herself up to sitting.
‘That’s what you think!’ Laura shouts cheerfully from the bathroom.
‘People are insane,’ Carmilla decides. Laura was right. There’s plenty of places already open, selling Christmas trees, decorations, and there’s even people sipping glühwein. Maybe that’s why they’re okay with being here at 6AM in the freezing cold.
‘Are we less insane if I give you this hot chocolate?’ Laura asks. She holds a steaming cup under Carmilla’s nose.
‘Does it have whipped cream?’ Carmilla takes a whiff of the chocolaty goodness. She grabs the cup and wraps her hands around it, humming at the warmth seeping through her gloves, into her cold fingers.
‘Of course. I know what my girl likes,’ Laura says, presses a kiss to Carmilla’s cheek.
‘You’re still insane, but maybe a little smarter than I thought,’ Carmilla teases. ‘Okay, lead the way.’
Clutching her cocoa, Carmilla follows Laura into the forest of naked Christmas trees. Laura repeats the list of requirements the tree has to fulfil before even being considered for purchase, followed by the list of decorations they have to buy.
Maybe Laura is right, Carmilla thinks. She’s never been in charge of her own Christmas, or any other holiday, and maybe it’s time.
‘Wait!’ she calls out. Laura stops and turns around, eyebrows raised. Carmilla quickens her pace to catch up, and she takes Laura’s hand in her own. ‘Let’s go find our perfect Christmas tree,’ she says.