A/N I got stuck at work yesterday because of a tornado warning of all things. Lol. So I starting writing this to pass the time. Inspired by various obnoxious Christmas songs that they've been playing over our PA system since mid-November. :-)
The chilly winter air seeps through the large house sitting high on its huge plot of land. Snow covers every tree and blade of grass in sight. Bundled up nice and warm in her fluffy robe and slippers, the house's only occupant sips a from a steaming mug as she flicks through the morning news on her tablet. Aside from the typical political mumbo-jumbo, there isn't anything going on that truly interests her.
The world outside the window seat is still and quiet as the snow continues to fall, covering the deck and pool area, and hiding the tennis court from her view. Almost ten years she's lived in this beautiful house and this will be the eighth Christmas in a row that she spends in it alone. A sharp ring echos through the house, pulling her from her thoughts and causing her eyebrows to crease in confusion.
Who on Earth would be this far away from the city in this weather?
She treks through the large kitchen, with its granite counter tops and marble floors, and into the entryway. Peering through the glass panes beside the front door, she becomes even more intrigued by what she sees. The boy outside can not be more than twelve or thirteen. His pimpled face is smiling brightly at her through the window so she opens the door. The absurdity of his outfit makes her laugh. He's wearing a black tuxedo complete with a red bow tie and a top hat with a bit of mistletoe hanging off the brim.
"Good morning, ma'am." He says in jovial voice. "I have a delivery for a Miss Charlotte."
Holding back a giggle, Charlie nods to the boy. "That's me."
He produces a plain white envelope from inside his jacket and presents it to her with both hands. "You have a lovely day, ma'am." He says happily, giving her a sweeping bow before dismounting the front steps of the house. Charlie watches him get into the passenger seat of a black escalade that pulls out of the snowy drive as soon as the door shuts behind him.
She shrugs at the strangeness of it and closes the door, heading back through the house as she slits the envelope open. There are two pieces of paper inside. The first is a handwritten note.
For my Angel,
It's been too long since you were properly pampered, so please enjoy this spa day I've arranged for you.
A smile breaks out across her face as she reads his words, absent mindedly twisting the gold band on her finger. The second piece of paper is computer printed directions to the spa he's picked for her. Charlie abandons her coffee and tablet to throw on some warm clothes and heads out into the cold.
The next morning dawns just as cold and snowy as the previous one. Charlie sits in her window seat with her feet propped up in front of her, admiring her freshly painted toe nails while she sips her coffee. The woman at the spa had somehow managed to convince her to go with a festive red in honor of the season and now she's trying not to regret the gaudy color.
The doorbell chimes for the second day in a row, making her wonder who could possibly be at the door this time. Surprisingly, it's the same young boy that was here yesterday. He's dressed in his tuxedo again and is holding a package about the size of a shoe box that's wrapped in shiny silver paper with a white bow on top.
"I have another delivery for Miss Charlotte," he says with a grin. The box is barely in her hands before he's bowing and skipping off the front steps back to the car. Charlie stares after him, wondering what the hell is going on. She opens the card that was stuck to the top of the box on her way back into the kitchen.
For my Angel,
Each new day brings a new challenge, a new curiosity. Embrace it.
She chuckles at the oddness of the message, unsure of exactly what he means but is glad for note regardless. That's two days in a row that he's been thinking of her. Tearing the paper off the box like a child on Christmas morning, Charlie frowns when she finally sees what's inside.
A shoe. Not a pair of shoes, but a single, left shoe. It's a shiny, silver high heel that is admittedly exactly the sort of thing she would buy, but that doesn't make up for the fact that there is only one shoe in the box. A questioning call to his office goes straight to his secretary who is seemingly deliberately unhelpful.
She glances at the card he sent with it and thinks, consider me curious then.
The mystery of the single shoe haunts her throughout the night and well into the morning. Her poor cup of coffee goes unnoticed as she stares off into the distance. She nearly knocks the cup over when the doorbell startles her from her thoughts. She makes her way to the door with a suspicious look on her face.
It can't possibly be another delivery. Can it?
Sure enough, the boy is back. He tips his hat to her when she opens the door and hands her another box identical to the one from yesterday.
"Have a good day, ma'am."
Charlie doesn't even wait to see the boy off to his car before shutting the door and tearing the paper off the box. The matching right shoe is inside it. She huffs in bewilderment at this strange game Bass is playing. Amongst the paper she'd ripped off, she finds the card that he sent with it.
For my Angel,
With every answer comes a new question.
She shakes her head as reluctant smile spreads across her lips. No matter what game he's playing, at least he decided to play it with her.
The fourth day dawns with the sun reflecting brightly off the snow, blinding her as she hovers by the front door. Charlie has a sneaking suspicion that there will be another delivery today. She just has to be patient. With her coffee in hand, she leans against the wall beside the door and watches the driveway for any sign of the black escalade. It appears at exactly seven o'clock and the boy comes hurrying up the steps with another identical shoe sized box.
More shoes? What do I need more shoes for?
She opens the door before the boy has the chance to ring the bell and smiles at the surprised look on his face. "Is this gonna become a regular thing?" She asks him.
The boy merely grins at her and says, "delivery for Miss Charlotte."
Scowling, Charlie takes the package and watches the boy run off to his car. She flips open the card on the box.
For my Angel,
The most beautiful woman I know deserves the most beautiful thing I could find.
The box is lighter than the other two had been and it doesn't rattle around like the others did either, which means it probably isn't another shoe. Charlie opens the box and finds a beautiful forest green dress. It'll probably reach just above her knees and the neckline is a little lower than what she's worn as of late, but the fact that he had gone out and specifically picked this for her is enough to make her forget that.
Again, and again, and again. The days keep passing and the deliveries keep coming. Always the same boy, always the same cryptic little notes. The day after the dress, she received a pair of red lace panties and the day after that, the matching bra. She's tried it all on; the lingerie, the dress, and the shoes. They really do make up a stunning outfit.
Day seven brings on a much smaller package. A single diamond earring sits on the velvet cushion inside the jewelry box. Charlie has no doubt that the matching earring will arrive tomorrow morning and is honestly really looking forward to it. It's been quite some time since anyone has paid this much attention to her and she's really enjoying it, though she hasn't the slightest idea what brought it on all of a sudden.
The matching earring arrives the next day. Then a diamond bracelet the next. On day ten, a diamond necklace arrives in order to complete her set. Charlie sits in the bedroom admiring her beautiful gifts. Despite the loneliness that has taken hold over the past few years, she's finally starting to feel like an actual human being again. She hopes that all of this attention isn't just for the holidays. She doesn't want things to return to her miserable norm once Christmas is over.
It's been a long time since she was this excited on Christmas Eve. Charlie grabs her morning coffee and rushes to the front door to await her predictable delivery boy. But after the outfit and the jewelry, what else could he possibly send? She waits with baited breath for the clock to strike seven and has to hold back a squeal as the escalade pulls into the driveway. As the tuxedo boy approaches the door, she can't help but notice that he isn't carrying a package.
"For you," he says as he hands her a plain, white envelope like he had on the first day.
"Are you ever going to tell me what's going on?" She asks him curiously.
But the boy merely grins and says, "merry Christmas, Miss Charlotte."
Charlie huffs as he ventures back to his car and slits open the envelope. The paper inside is folded around something that feels more like card stock and the note is written on the front.
For my Angel,
Don't forget to bring the rest of your gifts.
Inside the folded paper is a plane ticket to the Bahamas. The flight is scheduled to leave at noon today and there's a sticky note stuck to it.
A car will be waiting for you.
Charlie shakes her head in surprise. That only leaves her with a couple hours to pack and get ready and get to the airport. Abandoning her coffee on the kitchen counter, Charlie rushes upstairs to get ready.
It's a close call, but she makes it to the airport just in time to make her flight and spends the entire time bouncing around excitedly. She bores the business man next to her to tears with the tale of her mysterious Christmas presents and accidently spills orange juice on herself when the pilot announces that they will be arriving at their destination earlier than expected.
The sight of a fully grown man dressed in a tuxedo with a red bow tie and a top hat with mistletoe is waiting for her when they land. He's holding a small sign that reads, 'Miss Charlotte' and looks like he isn't really enjoying the suit in the hot Bahamian weather. But he takes her bag with a smile and leads her to a black Town car outside without complaint.
The hotel is like an island paradise with palm trees and crystal blue ocean water just a few steps away. After she checks in at the front desk and drops off her stuff in the presidential suite, she slips on her swim suit and heads straight for the beach. She lounges in the sun for the remainder of the day while someone keeps the martinis coming. This may be a solitary Christmas Eve, but it's the best one she's had in a long time.
Christmas morning dawns bright and early with the sun streaming through the large windows. Her head already aches from all the martinis yesterday and the sun isn't helping as it covers her face. Charlie rolls over with a groan and burries her head beneath her pillow. Just as the darkness is lulling her back to sleep, a sharp knock on the door jerks her awake.
Room service? Or maybe another delivery?
She yanks on a silky robe over her tank and panties and rushes to the door. Sure enough, a young boy is standing outside. But this new boy is dressed in a white tuxedo instead of black. His matching white hat is too big for his head and slips down on his forehead.
"Delivery for Miss Charlotte." He holds out a small jewelry box that Charlie takes with eager hands.
"Thank you!" She shouts after him as he takes off down the hallway.
There's no note with the gift this time so she opens the box quickly, frowning at the tiny, folded up piece of paper inside.
I thought your next gift would be better delivered in person. A car will arrive to pick you up at 6:30 this evening to take you to where we will be having dinner. See you soon.
Charlie's heart skips a beat. The past six or seven years have been difficult for her, what with Bass' security firm taking off and requiring more and more of his time, she's fallen behind on his list of priorities. He's constantly traveling all over the world and is only home every few weeks. Even when he is home, it's like he isn't really there. His mind is always on work and their relationship has suffered for it. That fact that he's planned this all out, bought her those gifts and brought her to the Bahamas, makes her heart swell with happiness. Maybe they can finally get back to the way things are supposed to be.
That evening, she dresses in the lingerie, the dress, the shoes, and all of the jewelry. Looking at herself in the mirror, Charlie can't help but think she looks like a stuck up, rich, society wife. She brushes those thoughts aside, determined not to let anything ruin her night. The car is waiting for her exactly like he said it would be and her heart flutters with anticipation as the same man who drove her from the airport drives her to dinner.
The car arrives in front of an older looking building with beautiful, brightly colored Christmas lights strung all around it. Charlie giggles as the boy in the white tuxedo offers her his arm and leads her into the building. He takes her to the rooftop where a wonderful candlelit table is waiting with two places set. A smaller table sits nearby with champaign and wine selections for them to choose from.
"Mr. Monroe will arrive soon." The boy assures her before leaving her alone on the rooftop. Charlie pours herself a glass of water from the pitcher on the dinner table and wanders over to the edge of the roof. She can see the entire city lit up beautifully below her, but as gorgeous as it is, she wishes Bass would hurry up so she can see him.
Ten minutes pass with her excitedly sipping her water. Then another ten go by as she anxiously twists the ring on her finger. After forty-five minutes of waiting, her hearts sinks down into her stomach. She berates herself for not seeing this coming. How many times has he left her waiting only to never show up? It was stupid of her to think that this time would be any different.
She pops opens a bottle of wine from the table and pours herself a nice, full glass. He probably got called away on some stupid work thing and forgot all about her. A few tears slide down her perfectly made up face as she sips the bitter liquid. The door behind her opens but she ignores it, thinking it must be the boy coming to tell her that Bass isn't coming and that it's time to leave.
"Sorry I'm late."
Charlie whips around, letting out a surprised squeak at the sight of Bass before her. He's wearing a nice black suit and a plain white button up with the top few buttons left undone. He left his blonde curls a little messy, just the way she likes them. He's smiling apologetically at her and holding out a large bouquet of red roses for her to take.
"The airport was crazy, and then I had to stop and change, and then get the flowers," he explains lamely. As she takes the flowers from him, he takes in the smudges of makeup on her face and the full glass of wine in her hand with a frown.
"I thought you weren't coming," Charlie says defensively.
Bass' frown deepens and he looks down at his shoes guiltily. "I guess I deserve that. I haven't exactly given you any reasons to believe in me lately."
She nods in agreement without really thinking about what she's doing, causing a sheen of tears to fill his eyes. "I know I've been a horrible husband, Charlie. But I was just trying to give you the best. You deserve better than an old, beat up soldier."
Tears gather in her eyes as well as she looks at the only man she's ever loved. "I didn't need any of that stuff, Bass. Not the big house or the expensive cars, or pool or the tennis court. All I ever wanted was you. That was enough for me."
Bass sucks in a shaky breath and takes her hands in his. "I know that now. It took me way too long to figure it out, but I know now that I was wrong. That's why I'm here. I know I'll never be able to erase what I've done, but I plan to spend the rest of my life making it up to you. Starting with my stepping down from the company."
"What? Are you serious?"
He nods, squeezing her hands in his. "Baker's taking over on the first of the year. It's already signed and done. Today was my unofficial last day, even though I'm technically CEO until the 31st."
The shock of his admission and the happiness it gives her is rendering her momentarily speechless.
"I know the presents don't fix anything," he hurries on quickly. "But I wanted you to know that I was thinking about you. That I have been this whole time."
He pulls a small jewelry box from inside his jacket and opens it, taking a gold ring from inside it and holding it up for her to see. There are tiny diamonds inlaid all around it and the word 'Angel' is engraved on it. Charlie sighs at the beauty of the ring and reaches out to take it from him but Bass pulls it back a little with a nervous smile. He gets down on one knee and looks up at her with shining eyes.
"I know I screwed up the first time, but I still love you more than anything and I would be honored if you would consider marrying me. " He tilts his head a little and smiles before adding, "again."
Charlie lets out a shaky laugh, nodding through the tears streaming down her face. "Of course I will."
Bass jumps to his feet and kisses her, his lips warm and familiar against hers even though it's been so long.
"Merry Christmas, Angel," he whispers.
Charlie nuzzles her face into her husband's neck and thinks, yes. Yes it is.