Peace On Earth

Christmas LightsIt’s hard to believe this is the last First Friday Fiction story of 2014. I’ve enjoyed writing these short pieces and I plan to continue in 2015. This month is the last installment of David’s Story. To read parts 1-6, click on the First Friday Fiction link from the “My Writing” shortcut above.

What I originally intended as a stand alone flash fiction story in June developed into a longer story, thanks to several of you who asked for more. I plan another new series beginning in January, but in the meantime I hope you enjoy reading Peace On Earth. 

Almost three weeks had passed since Thanksgiving and the incident with Sarah. While the polar vortex had given way to milder temperatures, Sarah remained cold and distant.

David wondered what he had done. He didn’t invite Cassie for Thanksgiving and had never talked about marriage to her—she was the one who insinuated they were to be married.

He made it clear to Cassie that she was no longer a part of his life. She had cried and whined a bit, hoping to get her way, but David was adamant she leave and not return. He hadn’t heard from her since—no doubt she’d found someone else to prey upon.

Since Thanksgiving, he had seen Sarah only in staff meetings. She refused all his invitations. Tonight, she would have no choice but to see him at the staff Christmas party.

*****

No matter how hard she tried, Sarah could not shake the melancholy feeling she’d had all month. Christmas had always one of her favorite holidays, but this year even Mannheim Steamroller’s rendition of Joy To The World could not lighten her mood.

As the music played over the intercom, she mingled with fellow employees and tried her best to act cheerful. She had managed to avoid seeing David. Sarah hadn’t wanted to attend tonight, but the Thompson family always went to great lengths to provide a nice party and dinner for their employees. Not attending would make her seem ungrateful.

When the announcement came for dinner, Sarah made her way into the dining room. She sat at a table with other women who worked in the lodge. Although the invitation included spouses or a guest, Sarah came alone. David was the only one she wanted to be with—she didn’t want anyone else.

After everyone sat down, she saw him sitting a few tables away. Apparently, he had brought a date—a young blonde sat next to him. At first, she thought it was Cassie, but this woman was younger, likely still in college. Sarah guessed David didn’t care about the age as long as they were tall, willowy, and gorgeous.

Her mood was already dismal and she just became more depressed. She knew she could never compete. She had always been a “plain Jane” type. Quiet, unassuming, simple.

*****

Sarah had stayed away from him all evening. Each time David tried to talk to her, she managed to escape. She had come alone and sat at a table with some other single women. A few times during dinner, he noticed her looking at him, but she would turn away if he caught her eye.

Most guests had already departed. David needed to take Lauren home, but he saw Sarah standing near the Christmas tree in the lobby. She looked good in the simple, but elegant blue dress. He was certain the color would bring out the blue in her eyes.

She stood with her back to the room, looking outside the windows. He rushed toward her before she had a chance to slip away again.

“Sarah, how are you? You’ve avoided me all evening.”

When she turned to him, her eyes were moist. “Hello David.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Oh, I’m just a little melancholy.”

“The most beautiful woman here should feel melancholy.” Something flashed in her eyes—perhaps a flicker of hope—then she cast her eyes downward.

“You’d better not let your date hear you say that. She might be jealous.”

“My date? What does she have to do…?” Realization dawned on David. Sarah was jealous. That’s been it all along. First Cassie, now Lauren. “ Come on, there’s someone I want you to meet.” David grabbed Sarah’s hand and pulled her toward the center of the room where Lauren stood talking with Tyler Farris, one of the summer counselors.

“What are you doing?” Sarah asked. “I don’t want to meet her.

When they reached Lauren, she turned toward them and smiled. “You must be Sarah. David’s told me a lot about you.”

“About me?”

“Sarah,” David said, “This is my cousin Lauren. She’s home for the holidays. She’s going to be one of our camp counselors next summer.”

“I, uh… It’s nice to meet you.” Sarah found it difficult to speak.

“David,” Lauren said. “Tyler has offered to drive me home.”

“Sure, no problem.”

“I’m glad to have met you,” Lauren said to Sarah. “I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of one another next summer.”

After Lauren left, Sarah turned to David. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier she was your cousin?”

“You didn’t give me a chance. And what difference does it make? Or were you jealous?” He couldn’t help but tease her a bit.

“Yes,” she said. “I was.”

“Good.” He smiled and took her in his arms.

*****

David and Sarah sat together on the sofa of his cabin. Winston lay in his usual spot in front of the fireplace. Christmas Day would be busy as they planned to spend time with both sets of parents.

But for this evening, Christmas Eve, they enjoyed the stillness of the cabin—the crackle of the fire, the soft sounds of Silent Night as it played on the radio.

Sarah looked outside. “Look David, it’s snowing.”

They walked to the window and stood arm-in-arm watching the silent flakes fall to the ground.

“The snow is so tranquil,” she said. “It makes you think we can really have peace on earth. I know Christ probably wasn’t born in winter, but somehow I picture a cold night such as this, with snow falling and peace all around.”

“Me too,” David said

He thought back over the past several months. When he came home for a visit in June, he never dreamed he would be living here, working at a job he enjoyed, and finding love. Finding Sarah.

David was home.

  • kathunsworth

    Love a happy ending Joan I feel all happy inside. Really enjoyed this friday fiction and look forward to reading what you have up your sleeve next year.

    • Thanks Kath. I like to bring my stories “full circle” so to speak. The first of the series was titled Going Home, so I liked wrapping it up with David realizing he was truly home. My January story is also a series, but it’s quite different from this one.

  • I love happy endings, but especially when it’s at the end of an exceptionally well written story. You have done an amazing job with your characters, the storyline, and Sarah’s jealousy. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in your next fiction piece.

    • Thank you for the compliment Sherrey. As I said, I didn’t begin this story as a series, but it worked out that way and I enjoyed writing it. The story sort of took on a life of its own. Next year, I’ll do another series (maybe two, six months for each).

  • I was so caught up in reading the final installment that I forgot to comment on it until now. I loved this series, and the ending gave us that satisfying “Yes!” that we (people like me who adore HEA-endings) crave. Great job, Joan. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in 2015.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it. I didn’t plan a series at first, but I’m glad I made it that. Another one planned for next year. And yes, I like those HEA endings also. 🙂

  • Diana Nesbitt

    What a nice story, Joan! I very much enjoyed reading it. I might have to try my hand at some first Friday fiction next year!

    • Oh, Diana you should! I had so much fun this year and plan to continue next year. The first few months I wrote separate stories, but this one just developed on its own.