I went into the kitchen and made a bag of microwave popcorn. Mama and I used to string popcorn to put on the tree, but Aunt Lucy and I were going to eat it. I got the radio out of my room, and Aunt Lucy and I listened to
Christmas carols as we finished decorating the tree.
I kept my ears open for the phone to ring, but it never did. Taffy had told me he was coming into town and I thought for sure he would call on Christmas Eve. I still hadn’t mentioned anything to Aunt Lucy about Taffy
being in town, so she didn’t understand why I was so jumpy.
“Maybe you should go get into your pajamas,” she suggested around eight p.m. “I have to stay up and work on some lessons for the new classes I’m teaching next month. I’m going to put on some coffee – you want some hot
Hot chocolate wasn’t exactly what I’d been hoping for, but it was cold outside and it was a good night to have some. I was about to get into my pajamas when the doorbell rang. I hurried into the living room, and Taffy was standing in the entry way.
“I knew you’d come!” I exclaimed as I pushed my way between Taffy and Aunt Lucy to give him a big hug.
“Well, I’m completely surprised,” Aunt Lucy said.
Taffy explained how Susie was out of town for the week and sent him a key to her place to take care of her plants, and watch things for her. Only he got there and he couldn’t get the key to work.
“I tried a couple hotels, but being that it’s Christmas Eve….”
“No room at the Inn?” Aunt Lucy said.
“Yeah,” Taffy told her. “I guess you could say that.”
“Well come in, sit down,” Aunt Lucy told him. “I think you made Jennie’s Christmas.”
“I won’t stay too long. If I can use your phone to call around a bit, I can probably find a room somewhere,” he told us.
“You’re not staying in a hotel on Christmas Eve,” Aunt Lucy said.
“Lucy, we both know Frank wouldn’t like….”
“In case you haven’t noticed, Frank’s not here,” Aunt Lucy interrupted. “If he wanted to watch what I was doing he could’ve let me go to Colorado.”
“You can have my room,” I offered. “I can sleep with Aunt Lucy.”
“You see?” Aunt Lucy told him. “It’s perfectly innocent. I don’t have a mint for your pillow, but I can get you a cup of coffee. I made a fresh pot.”
“Thank you,” he said. “Coffee sounds great. You don’t have some kind of cream or something, do you?”
“I’ll see what I can find,” she said. She went into the kitchen and came back with my hot chocolate and Taffy’s coffee. She went back into the kitchen to get her own cup.
Taffy took at sip of his coffee and set it on the coaster.
“Ah, Lucy,” he called toward the kitchen. “This isn’t exactly Cremora.”
“It’s Bailey’s” she said. “If you don’t like it I can pour that cup out, get you one with some skim milk.”
“No, that’s fine,” he said. “This is good.”
Aunt Lucy let me stay up for a little over an hour, and Taffy told us stories about when I was little, and a few about Aunt Lucy. A lot of it was goofy or embarrassing, but it was nice to have someone around who remembered me at Christmas. All Aunt Lucy and I could do was look at the letters she’d written to Mama. But it wasn’t like being with someone who was there – especially when that someone was Taffy.
It was around 9:30 when Aunt Lucy told me I better go ahead and crawl into bed.
“Aw….” I said disappointedly.
“Taffy will be here in the morning,” she said. “Now go on.”
I smiled a little. It was the first time she’d used my name for Taffy and not hers. I hugged the two of them and gave them both a kiss goodnight.
“Now make sure you stay to one side of the bed so I can fit when I get in there,” Aunt Lucy told me.
“If Uncle Frank can leave enough room, I think I can,” I said.
Aunt Lucy chuckled. “That’s not nice, Jennie.”
“She’s got a point, though.” Taffy said. He called me to him one more time and wished me a Merry Christmas.
I remembered how Taffy had mentioned wanting to talk to Aunt Lucy, and I knew this was his chance. I got into my pajamas and went to bed.
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