I’d like to introduce you to my Guest Author, VLSloan, a talented writer. She has very kindly agreed to allow one of her short stories to be posted for you all to read. MISTLETOE and MOLLY is a lovely story from a more innocent time, where Molly and Freddy have their first Christmas together. A perfect story for this time of the year.
Having written sporadically since childhood, VLSloan – also known as, @sloanranger, began writing full time after returning to college several years ago and her work began winning contests.
‘Soon after, a member of my Writing Group encouraged me to put my work on a free reading & writing site called, Wattpad. I’m very grateful to WP. It’s enabled me to develop a large body of work, including, but not limited to – Short Stories, Serials, varied Poetry Collections and a recently featured mystery Novella called: Arachnia.’
‘The site has nurtured me and my writing and I have been fortunate enough to develop wide readership there, as well as make many friends.’
‘I consider fiction my favorite and strongest work, but more than a few on Wattpad know me only as a poet, sigh. And what is worse, for the past year or two, even more know me only as the Limerick lady Some of the Limericks are pretty funny, though and they’ve become immensely popular so I guess I shouldn’t complain – but honestly folks – I write lots of other things, too .’
@sloanranger now focuses her efforts on submissions and locating a Literary Agent. You can find VLSloan and her work by googling: Wattpad.com/sloanranger. She is also on Twitter as: Sloan Ranger – #sloanrangerWP.
A CHRISTMAS STORY
Mistletoe & Molly by VLSloan
It’s almost Christmas and I’m feeling very merry and kind of cute as I walk out of the Walgreen building.
I get into a cab and the cabbie looks at me in the rearview and says:
“Where to, Honey?”
“Honey?” I say. “You don’t know me well enough to call me that.”
“Yeah,” he says, “but my eyes are good enough to see that you are one.”
“A real honey.” That makes me smile even though I don’t want to.
“You think so?”
I see he’s grinning at me in the mirror. “I know so,” he says.
I give him the address.
They’ve put the lights up on Main Street and all the stores have begun to decorate their windows. I love Christmastime.
“Here we are sugar,” he says, pulling up to the curb in front of my little house.
“So now it’s sugar, huh?” I say, getting out of the cab, careful to avoid the slush puddles.
“What difference does it make so long as the nectar is sweet?”
I roll my eyes a little. Then I pay the fare and give him a tip.
He hands me back the 50 cents: “No tip, Honey. In fact,” he says, “if you call back, next time ask for Tommy.” He’s grinning again. “I promise you that the ride,” he stretches out the word ride and gives me a silly wink, “is on me.”
“You are so fresh!” I turn my back quick and walk to the front door before he can see I’m laughing.
I barely take off my jacket when the telephone starts ringing. “Hello?” I say.”
“Hi, Molly. How’s my girl?”
It’s my boyfriend, Freddy. “Oh, it’s you,” I say, kidding.
“What do you mean: ‘Oh, it’s you? Aren’t you glad it’s me, Molly?”
His tone makes me smile. I twist the cord around my finger. “I guess,” I say, playing along.
“You guess? Don’t you know?” I can hear him pretending to plead and I laugh.
All of a sudden I get suspicious. “Are we still going to the movies tonight, Freddy?”
“Sure we are, Molly; unless I got to work late.”
“You better not have to work late,” I say, my eyes narrow. “You broke our date twice this month .”
“Now, Moll, what am I supposed to do? It’s more money, Molly.”
His pleading sounds a little more real, but not much. “You listen to me, Freddy Martin,” I say – and I’m mad. That’s why he called, to break our date. “You just better be here by seven.”
“Come on, Molly,” he says.
I change my tone. “I’ll have you know I have a new admirer,” I say and butter wouldn’t melt.
“What are you talking about, Molly?” He says. “I’ll bet he’ll take me to the movies if I want.” I purr, kind of.
“Oh, Molly,” he says and he sounds a little tired.
“Oh, Molly, my foot.” Now it’s me who’s whining. “It’s almost Christmas Freddie!”
“I’ll see you at seven,” he sighs.
So I go heat up a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup and a half grilled cheese sandwich left over from last night.
Freddy’ll eat supper with his Mom and sister. He moved back in with them after his Pop died. I don’t mind, him and me can grab something after the movies. I like that he helps his Mom out, even his sister Henrietta. But Henrietta can be very annoying. She should get a boyfriend and go out once in a while.
I come out of the shower and I smell like a million dollars. I bring my cosmetic bag and my mirror and set up everything on the coffee table. Usually, I only use three things: eyebrow pencil, cover stick and lip color — but Freddy’s getting the full treatment tonight: The Mask.
So I eat my soup and sandwich and brush my teeth so there’s no messing up my war paint.
I prop the mirror up against a Kleenex box, then line up all my make-up: foundation, eyebrow pencil, two shades of eye shadow, eyeliner brush, eyeliner, mascara, eyelash curler, rouge, lipstick brush, two shades of lipstick, face powder, and Vaseline – in case I make a mistake.
Twenty minutes later, remembering what the cabbie said, I’m grinning at myself in the mirror. I look even better than I smell.
Freddy and me are leaving the movies arm in arm and walking up the street to get something to eat. As usual, Mr. Ambrogio has his Christmas trees set up on the corner lot for sale. They smell wonderful. “How late you going to stay open, Mr. Ambrogio?” Freddy says.
Mr. Ambrogio props himself up with the tree in his left hand and strokes his long thick mustache with the other. “Oh, ’bout another 15 a’minutes I stay open, I ‘tink.” Mr. Ambrogio is Italian.
“Can you make that about an hour so Molly and me can get something to eat?”
“Oh, Freddy, are we going to get a tree?” I say. And I’m positively grinning with delight.
Mr. Ambrogio looks from Freddy to me and back to Freddy. “Sure, he says. “But don’t be too long, my Anna – Mrs Ambrogio, she donna’ like I should’a be late for supper.”
He gives a knowing look to Freddy. Mr. Ambrogio has five children and Mrs. Ambrogio is expecting. Freddy nods and we head off to Joe’s Fat Burgers.
Freddy takes my arm again and says: “So did you like the picture show, Molly?”
“Sort of. Clark Gable wasn’t very nice to Scarlett.”
“Well, gee, can you blame him? She was mooning over that Ashley Wilkes for almost the whole movie.”
“She couldn’t help it, Freddy, they were childhood sweethearts. You can’t blame her for being loyal. Besides, she just didn’t realize how crazy she was about Rhett.”
“I don’t know, maybe. You haven’t got any old boyfriends around have you, Moll?”
“‘Cause I’m your boyfriend; aren’t I, Molly?”
“Wasn’t Scarlet beautiful, Freddy? It’s no wonder she had all those guys around her at the picnic.”
“Not as pretty as you, Molly.”
“Oh, Freddy,” and I squeeze into his arm tight. “Course you’re my boyfriend.”
So we find a booth at Joe’s Fat Burgers. Its warm coming in from the cold outside and Freddy helps me take my coat off. Joe brings menus and me a coke and Freddy, coffee.
I look around and see even Joe has a tiny tree on the end of the counter. “Our first Christmas, Freddy. Don’t you just love Christmas?”
I love Christmas. We knew each other last Christmas, but we weren’t officially dating yet, I recall. He was still dating that Muriel Potts. “Are you hungry, Molly?” Freddy says, hoping to divert any recollection or talk of Muriel.
“Ummm,” I nod, not wanting to break the mood. “Are you going to eat something?”
“Sure,” he says. Honestly, I think Freddy could eat a hamburger an hour after he had Thanksgiving dinner. Joe comes over with his order pad. “Hi, guys, usual?” He says, looking from me to Freddy and back again.
Freddy looks up: “Hamburger, Moll?” I nod, yes.
“With mustard pickles and….”Lot of onions,” Joe joins in, “and fries with Thousand Island dressing.”
“Right,” Freddy continues and I’ll have a BLT and fries.” Me and Joe don’t say anything, we just look at him.
“What,” Freddy says after a pause. “I can’t change my order once in a while?”
I give him a no-big-deal-shrug, and Joe leaves to get our food.
“So, Molly,” he says and gives me a sleepy smile that makes me warm all over. “Tell me about this guy.”
Freddy’s got this thing where his lids lower and half cover his eyes. Drives me nuts.
I know what he’s talking about but I say: “What guy?”
“The one who was going to fill in for me. You know, the one who was going to take you to the movies.” I don’t say anything, but I giggle and give him a sly grin.
He knows I’m teasing. He says: “What do you want for Christmas, Molly?”
And I say: “You’re not supposed to ask me that.”
“Geez, Moll. How am I gonna know if you don’t tell me?”
I just look at him and he can see I’m miffed all of a sudden. “If you’re my boyfriend, Freddy, you’re supposed to know me well enough that you don’t have to ask.”
So we eat mostly in silence. “You could at least give me a clue,” he grumbles.
We stop by the tree lot after we leave Joe’s, and with the help of Mr. Ambrogio, pick out a perfect tree. It’s not too big, but it’s going to look real pretty on my parlor table.
Freddy gives me a kiss at my door but he doesn’t come in.
The next day I head down to Newberry’s Five & Dime Store and pick out some pretty decorations. I get shiny balls, icicles and a garland; also, a star for the top of the tree and some red candles for the windows.
I have to call a cab and guess who shows up? “I didn’t ask for you,” I say, making it plain.
“Yeah, I know,” He says. He takes my packages and hands them back to me after I get in.
He says. “You know you never told me your name.”
“Yeah, I know,” I say. “Will you please stop on the corner, by the tree lot?”
I buy some mistletoe and some holly but Mr. Ambrogio won’t take any money for the evergreen boughs I ask for. Mr. Ambrogio is giving Tommy the squint-eye when he puts them in the trunk. It begins to snow. “Looks like we’re gonna have a white Christmas if this keeps up,” the cabbie says.
“I smile.” I think he’s right.
After we get to my little house and he’s handing me my stuff at the door he says, “Merry Christmas.” I take my packages and say, “Merry Christmas, Tommy.”
I hadn’t seen or heard from Freddy for three days since that night we left the diner. But he called at noon and said he’d been working a lot and could he come by later so’s we could spend Christmas Eve together.
It’s been snowing for two days and I love the snow. Of course I say, yes. So it’s Christmas Eve and we’re sitting here on the sofa looking at my little Christmas tree with all the lights.
“I’m glad you didn’t have to work tonight, Freddy.”
“Yeah,” he says, smiling, and changes the subject. “The candles and holly look real nice, Molly; so’s the tree; its beautiful.”
“See the green packages, Freddy? They’re your presents. The red ones are for my Aunt and your Mom and sister.”
“I only got you one thing, Molly,”
“Oh, that’s all right. You know what they say about good things coming in small packages.” I smile up at him.”
He’s got his arm around me but he stands and pulls me up off the sofa and takes me to the kitchen doorway where I put the mistletoe up.
He kisses me then, real soft and he’s got those eyes of his at half-mast – the way that drives me nuts. He takes a little wrapped box out of his pocket and says: “Open it now, Molly – while I’m here, okay?”
So I do. And it’s just the sweetest thing; it’s a very small onyx oval on a little gold chain, and the onyx oval has this tiny, little diamond in the middle. And now I know why he’s been working all the time.
“Oh Freddy,” and I look up and I have tears in my eyes.
“Do you like it?” He says.
Now, they’re rolling down my cheeks, and I can barely whisper: “It’s just so beautiful.”
“Oh, Molly, don’t cry.” And he pulls me into his arms, “It’s for you, Molly – Merry Christmas.”
The End … and a very Merry Christmas : )