Bingeaduckia: Suite 606 Holiday Round RobinSaturday, December 13, 2008 18:00
Have we got a treat for you in honor of Bingeaduckia! The authors of the Suite 606 anthology have put together a special Christmas-themed round robin story for our enjoyment (and amusement!). And none other than the Grand Dame herself, the Ms. Nora Roberts is kicking off the fun. Readers, it’s our job to continue the story in the comments section. The Suite 606 ladies will also drop by from time to time and help us along with the story if we get “stuck.” Enjoy!
Carrie Littleton sat through a red light for the third time and snarled at the Douglas Fir strapped to the roof of the Toyota Camry in front of her.
She hated Christmas.
The day was one thing, but when the stupid holiday started before the last turkey croquette from the left-over fowl was regretfully ingested it was too damn much.
The holidays meant blasts of Jingle Bells and Rudolph on every trip to the market, Santas on street corner ringing their bell until she wanted to grab it away from their white gloved hand and smack them over their red-capped head with it. The holidays equaled the mass hysteria of shopping in malls log-jammed with people, kids screaming while their parents pushed them into the lap of some weird guy in a Santa suit and traffic that kept the one sane person left in the metropolitan area from getting into the stupid mall in the first place.
Now she was going to be late. She probably wouldn’t get the job, and her fledgling PR firm would sink like a stone. She’d lose her adorable little apartment, be forced to move back home with her parents and have to listen–again–to everyone’s murmured sympathies.
Carrie Littleton, a failure at twenty-seven. And why? Because the man she’d loved and believed in, the man she’d planned to marry on Christmas Eve one year ago had not only left her flat, but flat broke. She had every right to hate Christmas.
Her sharp blue eyes narrowed as the light changed. “Come on, come on, get that damn dead tree through the light. I haven’t got all day.”
Calm down, she ordered herself. Nobody wanted to hire a crazed PR rep. She’d managed to keep her business afloat–barely–after Derrick’s betrayal. She could manage to get into the mall parking lot, walk into the sea of holiday shoppers and keep her appointment with Joseph O’Malley. She’d charm, dazzle and persuade him to hire her, and all would be well. In a few weeks, Christmas would be over. She’d have gotten through a full year since the detestable Derrick.
At last she inched through the light and followed the river of cars into Youngstown Mall. She just needed a break, just one break–and she’d take an empty parking slot as a sign from God. Ignoring the enormous wreaths, the miles of glittery garland, the acres of red ribbons adorning the sprawl of shops ,she began the hunt. With just a little luck, she could still make it on time, impress O’Malley with her presentation–one she’d worked on for days–and justify all the hard work, the lonely nights, the decision to strike out on her own. She went over her pitch again as she drove up and down the packed aisles , and smoothed her hand over her hair to make sure it remained in a perfect and sleek professional chignon.
Then she saw it, like a beacon in a storm, between a red pick-up and a minivan. An empty spot. Nirvana. She pumped the gas, letting out a cheer as she swung into the space.
He came out of nowhere, in his bright red suit. She had an instant to register chocolate brown eyes widening in shock, and the fact that Santa was tall and lean, and minus the beard had a chiseled chin. She slammed the brakes as he jumped to the side. But physics was against them. She felt the thump as her bumper caught him, and he went down like, well, a Christmas tree under the axe.
Her heart tumbled in her chest as she sat for one frozen moment. She’d just run over Santa Claus.