Christmas' Eve in the malls was always the busiest in the year. Everybody who forgot to buy gifts, rushed to the galleria to find anything. That day, Therese Belivet didn't have the best time. First of all, she definitely regretted calling the radio show this morning and complaining about Christmas and people around kissing and showing off with their love. Second of all, there was, of course, a reason for that. Therese Belivet hated it, because she didn't have her loved one, partner, significant one or whatever other name people used nowadays to define their partner in life.
"Come on, come on, where the heck is my red skirt?", she was talking to herself while preparing for work. Her work wasn't also the best part of her life. She had to handle thousands of crying children, thousands of demanding parents and thousands of people in general as Mrs. Claus in the mall everyday from 9am to 5pm. Therese was already late. Brunette cursed under her nose while running out of the apartment.
Her friend, Dannie, was already waiting for her. Him and Therese worked for his brother Phil in company that specialized in renting costumes for variety of festivals and celebrations. Holidays were their hottest season.
"There you are, Terry! I started to worry! Also, this is for calling the radio", he said and punched her in the shoulder.
"Hey! That hurt! Besides, what are you talking about? What radio?", Therese tried to act stupid, but she knew she lost.
"Seriously? You think you're gonna fool me, Audrey?", Dannie asked, grinning. Therese looked and him and scoffed. Cold, New York, fresh air was the best thing in the winter, according to her and Dannie. That is why, instead of taking ubers or taxis, they preffered to walk around and wander.
"Okay, fine. Jesus. It's just... I want something fresh, something new, I want the love to hit me and knock me out of my feet. Is it really so much to ask? How hard it is to find-"
"Holy, shit, Therese!", Dannie yelled after Therese was knocked out of her feet by tall figure, who was walking really fast towards them, not looking in front of them, but rather at the piece of paper they had in their hands.
"Oh my Lord, I'm so sorry! I don't know what I was thinking, not looking ahead of me. Let me help you, darling.", soft, rather low voice made Therese even dizzier while she was still laying on the floor. Brunette's eyes were still closed while she listened to the female stranger and Dannie.
"Jesus, lady! My friend could be unconscious! What did you even think, walking like that. You're twice her height, you could have killed her!", Dannie exclaimed.
"Dannie-boy, don't be ridiculous", Therese sighed.
"Please, let me help you-", female offered her hand that brunette accepted. Therese noticed blonde hair while stranger's strong arm helped her get up to the standing position. The next thing There noticed were cold blue, amazing eyes. Unknown woman grabbed her face in her hands and carefully expected her sight, gently stroking her cheeks. Therese was speechless. "Are you okay? Do you see me? Do you know what day is this?", she asked gently with her soothing, deep voice.
"It's... Christmas' Eve-e...", Therese chocked.
"Good, good", blonde woman smiled. "I'm so sorry once again, but now I have to go, darling. Be well!", she let go of Therese's face and walked away.
"Where is the rush? Let's get to know each other", Dannie replied after her but she was already gone. He then looked at his friend, she was flushed. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"Y-yes...", brunette only replied.
Blonde, tall beauty's name was Carol Aird. Moment before she crashed into Therese Belivet, she received the worst possible message for Christmas' Eve. She was ordered to work today while she already had promised her 6 years old daughter Rindy she would stay with her, make a feist and watch Christmas movies on TV. Her boss was a total asshole. Carol worked as regional manager of one of the most famous radio stations in USA. Her boss, CEO of the station was stuck up, old man who didn't understand family matters. After she received a piece of paper with the information, she automatically left the station with anger building in her veins.
What was she supposed to tell Rindy? She will be so so disappointed. Rindy understood a lot of things, but Carol couldn't just live her alone. Unfortunately she didn't have any other idea as well as family to take care of her.
Those were her thoughts when she knocked down young, beautiful woman. Carol smiled, remembering her soft skin under her palms as she checked if woman is okay. Carol regretted she didn't ask for her name or even better - number.
Female stranger had the cutest dimples Carol had ever seen.
In the meantime, woman with the cutest dimples was preparing herself for the mall in the wardrobe. She heard a knock and after a moment door opened.
"Ready, Freddy?", she heard Dannie.
"You know, what? One time I will really be naked and you will regret it for the rest of your life. Wait for "come in", for heaven's sake", Therese said, looking at her friend in elf's costume.
"Fine, fine... I still cannot believe you didn't take her number! She was perfect and you were just mumbling some meaningless words!"
"Stop!", she blushed, "you'r not even sure she was gay. Besides, what do you think would have happened? Love is for suckers. Meeting my love on Christmas' Eve would be too obvious hence I do not think it will happen".
"God, you and your blubbering...", Dannie murmured while playing with Therese's makeup. Therese stood up, looking for her red coat. She cursed and left the wardrobe looking around.
"HOLY SHIT...", she whispered, looking straight at the female stranger she crashed in this morning. Blonde woman was looking around, clearly confused by chaos in the office. "Dannie! There is that woman from the morning!"
"Wait, what?", Dannie looked through the door. "Oh shit. It's fate! Go ahead!", he yelled and locked the door from Therese.
"Dannie, you idiot! Open that Goddamn door!", Therese was pounding at the door, which (of course) made the girl the center of Carol's attention. Therese turned around and gasped, as Carol was right behind her. God, she looked so good! Therese eyed her from head to toes and back when eventually catching her gaze and blushing furiously.
"It's you", Carol said with a smile, "I'm sorry, I was just-
"Just what? Are you stalking me?"
"No, no, what are you-"
"You're here to ask me out, aren't you? What could you possibly want with the person like me? You're all beautiful and fancy, articulate. Me? I'm nothing. You will take me to dinner, we will get drink, then second and third one, we will sleep together and the next day you'll just leave me", Therese finished her outburst, finally looking in blonde's eyes. They were really warm.
"No...", she whispered. Therese furrowed her eyebrows and smiled lightly.
"No, I just... I was actually here to look for Santa costume", Carol finally said, smiling. What delight it was to see how Therese slowly became all blushed, from toes to the tip of her head. "I know it's late, but I thought I'll try my luck."
"You know what? I actually have something way better for you...", Therese finally chocked out.
Rindy was reading Christmas Carol when she heard the knock on the door. She was too small to reach the hole to check who's that, but smart girl put the chair under and saw... Frosty The Snowman. She grinned and immidiately opened the door.
"Hello there, dear Rindy! This is Frosty the Snowman! Santa himself sent me to wish you a very happy holidays!", Carol said in her best snowman-y voice. Rindy started laughing.
"Mommy, I know it's you! I can tell by your voice!", she replied, pulling Carol by the hand.
"No, no, it's Frosty! I came to help you make some dinner!"
"Come on, mommy, let's make some dinner. I'm so hungry!", Rindy took Frosty's head off and kissed her mom on the cheek.
"You know what? You're too smart to be 6 years old.", Carol stated, preparing ingridients for pasta and later, for cookies.
"Yes and you're too sweaty to be a snowman!", Rindy laughed. Carol shook her head and started tickling her daughter.
Rindy was the best part of her life. She felt so bad to tell her the news. They made their food and then sat at the couch to watch some Christmas cartoons Rindy had picked. Carol looked at her and then at the TV.
"You have to work today, hm?", Rindy asked, looking at her mom. Carol didn't see the point to lie to her.
"Yes... I have night shift, Rindy. I'm so sorry. And there is nobody to take care for you today. I'll have to take you with me.", older blonde ruffled daughter's golden locks.
"Mommy, don't worry. I can stay here with Mamma. You know she's always here with me. Besides, don't you know that 200% of adults have to go to work on Christmas' Eve? I saw it on the Internet", girl replied resolutely, making Carol laugh.
"200%? That's a lot, Rindy. And I know that your mom will be with you, but you cannot just stay here alone."
"Mommy, I'll be okay. I don't like being at your work, it's boring. I have everything here - my books, my teddy bears, my science kit... But you know what? If you had girlfriend, I wouldn't have to stay here alone", Rindy said.
"Girlfriend?! When did you think about it?", Carol looked at her daughter who was calm as never.
"Just this week. Besides, mamma said so too. She said you're ready. If you had girlfriend, she would stay here with me and wait for you to come back from work", Rindy sighed.
"Rindy, you're absolutely ridiculous. You and your mom. You guys are the most important for me", she stroked Rindy's cheek and kissed her forehead, "Come on, let's go to the mall. I'll let you pick some new book."
"Mom, how about this one? She's so pretty!", Rindy loudly stated, looking at the readhead customer service representative in the bookstore. Carol blushed furiously.
"I'm sorry, I don't even know that child...", she mumbled, then pulled Rindy by the sleeve to the next book isle. "Rindy, for heaven's sake."
"Whaaat? Please! 7 out of 4 people meet their loved ones in the stores! Those are the facts, mom.", Rindy defended herself.
"I swear to God, you're gonna drive me to grave, Rindy... Talking stuff like that to women. What are they going to think about me? Besides, I don't think- Rindy? Rindy! Rindy, where are you? I'm sorry, have you seen blonde girl wandering around? My God!", Carol exclaimed, looking around. She was right here moment ago. How did it happen?!
"I'm sorry, have you seen 6 years old girl? Blonde, curly hair?", she asked young teenager.
"I haven't, but most brats are outside for Santa and show", he replied, shrugging his arms.
"Thank you!", she yelled back and rushed to the crowd of kids and their families. She was looking around but there was no sight of Rindy. Finally, after 10 minutes of searching and serious stressing, she noticed her standing by the Christmas tree. "Jesus Christ, Rindy! Where have you been? I was talking to you and you just dissappeared. Don't you ever do that to me! Jesus!", she grabbed Rindy by her shoulders and looked into her eyes. But her eyes were somewhere up.
"But mom! I found Mrs. Claus!", she pointed at... Therese.
"Oh my. It's you", Carol smiled in this adorable way that Therese wanted to see all the time.
"My, my. First you crash people, then you lose your daughter. Not really interesting day, hm?", Therese smiled, looking at Carol, then at Rindy.
"Wait? Do you guys know each other?", Rindy was confused.
"Oh yes, yes. We met around 300 times today", Carol laughed. "I'm Carol Aird, by the way. And this one here is Rindy."
"I'm Therese Belivet. Nice to finally know your name, Carol", Therese replied. The way she said her name was the best way she ever heard. They were both looking at each other, lost, ignoring everything, when...
"Hey, mom, why don't you ask her on a date!"
"Oh my Lord, Rindy!", she shouted, covering Rindy's mouth. Little girl tried to escape, but Carol held her tight. "Well it was nice to meet you Therese! Don't listen to this child, she always says stuff like that. Don't you just wanna buy her? Bye!", Carol waved while Therese was laughing more than she laughed for the past year. She found both mother and daughter incredibly adorable.
Five meters away, right by the clothing store, Carol finally let Rindy go.
"Rindy, I swear to Goddess, you don't say stuff like that to strangers! She doesn't even know me or you."
"Mom. Dates are invented to meet people. Besides, didn't you tell me you guys met like thousand times?! This is the one!"
"You're crazy, Rindy. You and your ideas", Carol shook her head.
"Go back. Right now", Rindy ordered, looking straight into her mother's eyes. Carol was speechless. Yes, Rindy definitely inherited her bossiness. Blonde woman didn't see any other choice then come back to see Therese.
"It's me again. I'm sorry to bother you yet again in this busy time", Carol touched Therese's shoulder while younger woman turned around.
"No, it's no bother. Your daughter is really cute", brunette stated.
"And smart as hell... Sometimes it's my curse. Anyway, I came back to ask you... Have you ever been on a date on Christmas' Eve?"
Therese's heart started beating so damn fast she thought it was going to explode. Looking at Carol's face, she couldn't stop but think about her full lips. "No. Why?"
"Well I was wondering if you would want to go on a date with me. Would you?"
"Oh God... I-I can't", Therese chocked. She couldn't believe she's just refusing this gorgeous woman a date. The most stunning woman she'd ever seen, Therese had to admit. And all because of Phil and his fear of coming out to his parents!
"You... can't?", Carol asked with the same expression on her face. What was I thinking? Who would possibly want anything from the person with a child?
"No... I'm so sorry. If it wasn't this day. I just have plans and-"
"Of course, it was so foolish of me, Therese. I'm sorry", if Carol wasn't so good with her poker face, Therese would see her blushing crazy in that moment, "I better go, I won't keep you any longer. Bye, darling!", Carol took a chance and grazed Therese's cheek lightly before letting go and leaving without letting the brunette say anything further.
"I'm so sorry Carol, I just can't today...", Therese whispered more to herself than anybody else. She couldn't believe what just happened. She wanted Christmas miracle and she just refused the one that was happening in front of her. God, I'm so stupid! Brunette didn't even get her number to maybe call and make a date another day. Stupid stupid stupid! There you go, that's it for a miracle on Christmas!
Carol walked back to Rindy and shrugged her arms.
"Well I tried, darling", blonde smiled lightly, although in her heart, she as deeply dissapointed, but she couldn't tell that to Rindy. Therese was the first woman Carol noticed after her partner passed away although Abby set her up on million dates. Carol was never interested until h e r. Something about her, maybe her dimples, maybe sweet smile or maybe that reality around her, her mind? Carol didn't know. She cursed herself when she realized she didn't even take Therese's number to call another day.
"Don't worry, mom. At least you tried", Rindy seemed to see Carol's mood and squeezed her hand tighter.
Taller blonde smiled to her daughter, "Oh Rindy, you're the smartest girl I've ever known. What would I do without you?"
"It's easy. You probably wouldn't even survived", the girl stated.
You could then only hear Carol's melodic laughter.
Cold evening was slowly creeping upon its residents. Two women, not knowing about that, were thinking about each other all the time. Carol Aird was just saying good-bye to her daughter. Her heart sunken at the thought of Rindy being all by herself in New Years' Eve, but even Abby was far away and couldn't help her. Rindy hated radio station even more than being by herself and Carol didn't have a heart to take her.
"Rindy, look at me", she kneeled in front of her daughter, taking her face in her hands, "call me whenever you need me. I repeat whenever. I know your mom will be with you, but little girls cannot be alone for so long".
"Don't worry, mom. Me and mommy will be with you, listen to your station. I will be brave", Rindy replied.
"I know you will, sweet pea. Nobody should knock, but if someone knocks, check the peeping Tom. Don't answer for strangers!", Carol kissed both of Rindy's cheeks and left with tears in her eyes.
Her child was extremely smart at her age.
"Don't worry, mommy", Rindy whispered, "I know Mrs Claus was perfect, but whatever happens happens".
Therese, on the other hand, was still in the mall, finishing the last performance for the day. All kids with their parents started leaving, some of them still clapping for Santa, angels and Therese. The brunette started clearing the space and putting stuff to the box. She couldn't wait for this day to be over, but she still had to survive the dinner with Phi and Dannie's parents. She didn't understand why Phil didn't simply come out to them. He preferred to lie to have a girlfriend than introduce his long time partner.
"Hey, Terry-o! Are you ready to part-ay?", Dannie smiled, coming up to her and helping her securing microphones and keyboards.
"I suppose... I have one more assignment, then I'll get ready. Phil is supposed to pick me up. I just don't get him..."
"Don't tell me that. I told him couple times, but she only gets angry with me...", Dannie shrugged his arms, then added, "Are you still bummed about that blonde angel?"
"What do you think, Dannie? I can't believe I didn't get her number! How could I be so stupid? I mean, how many times you meet someone so beautiful and this person actually wants to take you to the proper date?"
"Oh Therese, if that's meant to be, you'll meet again. Don't worry. You deserve love like everyone else", Dannie kissed her cheek.
And the brunette knew all of this. She just simply thought it would be nice to have somebody for this Christmas instead of being all lonely and sad. She knew she had Phil and Dannie, but after that, on Christmas day, she would be in her apartment, drinking early and watching stupid movies on TV. She just wished she could wake up next to the person she loves, with their pajama top, then kiss an snuggle with them. Was it too much to ask?
Not wanting to talk to Dannie longer, she was on her way to the last home visit. It was easy to find the apartment. It was this old, vintage apartment complex where rich, stylish people lived. Therese never admitted that to anyone, but if she ever had money, this was the apartment she would pick. Old, vintage style was her thing - beautiful high ceilings, carved tops of the walls, big windows... Therese sighed, maybe one day.
She knocked under the indicated address, but nobody replied.
"Are you freaking kidding me?", she cursed. She tried one, second, third time before realizing the household simply left, not cancelling her visit. She smiled lightly, because what else could she do? Therese knocked next door, maybe they knew something she didn't about their neighbors. Before she decided it was the worst day of her life, she heard rumor behind the closed door. She waited a moment before the door opened and she saw familiar smiling face.
Maybe miracles exist?, Therese thought to herself, before child's voice spoke to her.
"Mrs. Claus! You're here!", Rindy exclaimed, taking Therese's hand and leading her into the apartment. "You found your way here. Tell me the truth - do you have any magic?"
"No, Rindy, I don't!", she chuckled, "I supposed it was... meant to be. Where is your mom? Are you hear all by yourself?", brunette asked, hanging her red coat.
"Of course not, silly. My mommy is with me", she replied as it was the simplest thing in the world, pointing the picture on the wall. Therese then understood and didn't ask any more questions. How come something so hard was so easy for a child, but way harder for adult? Brunette never knew. Rindy lead her to her tent where Therese could hear the station she called this morning. "And mom is right there. She's working night today. She's a... regional manager of this station", Rindy recited.
"You don't say", Therese shook her head, smiling at Rindy's clearly learned title of Carol's position.
"I shouldn't open doors for strangers, but you're not a stranger, right? Do you want to stay and make ginger cookies? I was supposed to do it with my mom, but she was called to work last minute", Rindy explained.
"Oh, Rind... I can't".
"Pretty please? It would be nice to have real company on Christmas' Eve...", Rindy pouted and Therese knew she was lost. The decision was made.
"Okay. Let me make a quick call". After short explanation, Phil had to understand. Therese was pretty sure Dannie already told him about "blonde angel". Phil wasn't even mad which made brunette even happier. She locked her screen and looked at Rindy. "Okay dokay, princess, are you ready to make some cookies?"
"Yay! I'm so happy you can stay with me!", Rindy came up to Therese and hugged the girl, wrapped her little hands around her waist. "You have no idea how bored I already was. Mom should be back in a couple hours, we can make cookies and then watch something while we're waiting for her".
"Of course. That's the plan, boss", Therese chuckled.
Cookies came out perfect. Rindy was talking almost the whole time, sharing stories about her school and also a little about Carol. Little girl didn't hesitate to mention that her mother had a hell of a crush on Therese which made Therese's heart flutter in her chest.
"But hey, don't tell her I told you! She probably will tell you when she comes back. You're gonna wait for her, aren't you?", Rindy asked, making sure. Therese ruffled her curly hair and smiled.
"Of course I will. I'm not going anywhere".
Carol did came back couple hours after. It was a little after midnight, when she unlocked the front door and tiptoed inside. Light was off, the only beam of light was coming from living room. Rindy must have fallen asleep over there, Carol thought, hanging her coat when she finally noticed. Red coat with white furry finish on the sleeves and bottom. The blonde smiled widely, while touching soft fabric. She directed her steps towards the living room where the tent was still lit up and Christmas carols were playing softly in the background.
Carol knew that Therese as here, but she wasn't prepared for the picture in front of her. The brunette was laying on Carol's left side while hugging Rindy with her left arm. Her daughter was laying on her right side, her face burried into Therese's neck. Carol had to swallow her tears. Now it's not the moment to cry.
She quietly kneeled by brunette's side and touched her shoulder. Therese's eyes fluttered before she opened her eyes completely. She forgot where she was so after one second she noticed blonde hair and deeply blue eyes, she moved immediately almost waking Rindy up. Carol put index finger on her lips, giving Therese a sign to be quiet, while she lifted Rindy up and took her to her bedroom. Brunette's eyes lingered over them while she stood up from the tent, improving her hairstyle and crumpled dress.
Carol came back moment after. She looked at Therese's face and smiled warmly. Therese blushed, while reaching for her coat. But before she as able to do that, Carol grabbed her wrist and pulled her closed to her. She as now holding both of brunette's soft hands.
"I have so many questions", blonde whispered.
"It's easy", Therese smiled, "Universe thought we were meant to meet again and brought me to your apartment. I'm not kidding. I was supposed to make a home visit at your neighbor'a family, but they weren't there. I knocked to your door then and Rindy recognized me".
"That girl... She should have not opened the door, you know?", Carol teased.
Therese smiled widely, wrapping her arms around Carol's neck to pull her even closer. Carol's breath hitched when she felt brunette's touch on her skin. She knew that girl for such a short time yet she felt such connection with her.
"Aren't you glad she did though?", Therese teased back.
"Yes. I'm really really happy...", Carol whispered into brunette's lips before crashing them into Therese. The kiss from the beginning was extremely strong, full of desire and unspeakable words, which time would come later. Carol started heading towards the couch in the living room, at the same time not wanting to interrupt kissing. Therese understood her intentions and sat down when she felt the pressure on the back of her knees. Carol immediately sat on her lap and put her hands on Therese's hips, simultaneously directing them to the top. The brunette sighed loudly into her mouth, sensing the woman's touch. She didn't know how long she would last in this moment without going too far on the first day of them knowing each other.
Thankfully, Carol sensed her thoughts and broke the kiss, while pressing her forehead with Therese's. Brunette wrapped her arms around Carol's waist and looked into her eyes that were dark with lust and want, but also affection.
"I'm sorry. I hope you'll forgive me. I wanted to do this since I knocked you out of your feet", Carol chocked. She then realized she was still sitting on Therese's lap. She slipped down and sat next to her on the couch. Blonde motioned Therese to lean into her while Carol wrapped her left arm over Therese's shoulder. Brunette smiled, feeling warmth radiating from Carol.
"It's okay. If you didn't stop me, I would probably-", Therese cut herself before she said too much, but Carol knew and only chuckled, then kissed her temple sweetly.
"I don't know what is it about you, but I feel drawn to you from the moment I saw you. Then I kept meeting you time after time and every moment felt more precious than the other. I am so happy you were here when I came back. Please forgive me, darling, if I'm being too forward, I just had to admit that because I couldn't no longer hold it back. Even if you don't feel the same or you're overwhelmed, I completely understand".
"Please, Carol, hello, didn't you see how I was kissing you?", Therese teased and pecked blonde's lips again. "I know how you feel, because I feel the same. Just this morning I made a called to the morning radio show. Actually, the radio station where I found out you're manager. I thought I would never meet anybody and that miracles don't happen. But here I am, in your arms and I just... I feel it in my heart. I cannot explain it and maybe words will come to me, but for now I want to be with you", brunette whispered. "Plus your daughter kinda told me you had a crush on me, so..."
"God, Rindy... What am I supposed to do with her?", Carol questioned.
"Well for starters, you can tell her that Mrs. Claus also has a huge crush on you", Therese said with teasing voice, while kissing Carol's neck. The blonde knew that if they continued, there would be no turning back. On the other hand, she felt as if she had known Therese for a long time, meeting her so many times in just one magical day. She also knew that Therese felt the same emotions and that she wouldn't regret when she woke up next to Carol the next morning, in her pajama top.
"Do you want to-"
"Yes", Therese whispered, exactly knowing the question. Carol lifted brunette up and there it was. No turning back.
The next day, Rindy Aird woke up and looked around. She was in her room which meant her mom came back and put her in her own bed. She looked through the window and saw thick layer of snow. "Christmas!", she exclaimed, running out of the room.
She checked mom's bedroom, but she wasn't there. She came to living room and there they were - Mrs. Claus and her mom were laying in the tent, blanket wrapped around them while her mom was spooning Therese.
"Mom! Therese! It's Christmas! Come on!", Rindy screamed as seeing her mom with someone else was the most normal thing in the world. But somehow... it was. Rindy knew that and there is nothing that can trick the child with her emotions.
"Underaged children are asked to leave the premises right this instant!", Carol exclaimed, covering laughing Therese with the rest of the blanket.
"Mom, do you really think I'm stupid?! 200 million people sleep with each other on the first date!", the girl replied proudly.
"200 million?!", Therese exclaimed, "That's quite a lot!"
And that's how Therese Belivet, young woman who lost faith in people, met the love of her life, Carol Aird and her smart daughter Rindy. Love comes unexpectedly and will come to all of you. Of course, you cannot wait for love too much, because they it won't actually come. But if you live your life, love will surprise you. Maybe even on Christmas Eve when you look for presents last minute, you will meet your love somewhere amongst the crowd. You just have to believe in it.