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On The First Day Of Christmas

“Stay there.”

Laurel stayed. They'd had another six inches of snow overnight, but Kevin had already shoveled part of their driveway. She stood on a dry patch, wrapped in her charcoal gray woolen overcoat, with a soft blue cashmere scarf and matching hat pulled on tightly to cover her ears. Her feet were thrust into sheepskin boots, but even so the chill of the ground was starting to seep through. She shifted from one foot to the other and sipped at her coffee, grateful for its warmth.

“How much longer?” she called to Kevin, who was attaching something to the garage door. He stepped back and she could see it was a camera. What on earth had he planned?

“Any moment now,” he yelled back. “Hold on.”

He'd woken her ten minutes earlier with a cup of her favorite Starbucks caramel latte and then told her to come outside for her Christmas gift. She'd been hoping for jewelry. Maybe perfume and a couple of books. Nothing on her list was too big to fit inside the house. She'd bought him a leather iPad cover and a sage green cashmere sweater to match his eyes. It would be really, really awkward if he'd bought her a car. Or a pony. She didn't even like ponies, but she couldn’t think what else she would need to come outside for.

Kevin had disappeared completely. Laurel squinted to see if he was in the car, or hidden behind the large pine tree. The camera was still on the garage roof, and it seemed to be pointing in her direction. Someone began singing a carol. Even on Christmas Day, eight o'clock in the morning was a bit early for singing in Laurel’s opinion—especially the one about the partridge that went on forever.

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