Although windy and snow was dancing around them, Carrie didn't feel cold. The sleigh ride was much easier to ride than a typical carriage she was used to, and the reindeer seemed to automatically know where to go despite Jeno holding the reins. The sleigh itself had white colored seating, matching the snow that was a blanket on the forest ground.
"I should probably explain myself now," Jeno spoke up.
"I'm listening," Carrie replied with a grin.
"My father and the Sugar Plum Fairy formed an alliance with our kingdoms many years ago," he began, keeping his eyes on the path as he drove. "They both ruled their kingdoms individually, but after my parents died of sickness, she took charge until I was to take my place as king."
"How did the mouse show up?"
"He was her most faithful servant for years, but when she made the decision to appoint him king over my father's kingdom for the time being he learned how to use black magic in order to run the kingdom the way he wanted it to be. A war between the mice and my people broke out. Many of my subjects lost their lives trying to stop him."
A mournful expression gloomed on the prince's face. Carrie scooted closer to him, wrapping her arms around his right arm.
"I'm sorry," was all she could say. She kissed his cheek as a way to comfort him, and s smile bloomed on his face.
"How did you become a nutcracker?" Carrie asked. "And more importantly how were you at the party when you were also the nutcracker?"
"Her majesty and I had a plan to overthrow the mouse. Everything seemed to be going as it should until I was caught trying to take his book of spells. That's when he cursed me. The Sugar Plum Fairy and the snow queen used whatever magic they had to undo it, but they could only turn me back to human for certain times of the day."
"And the nutcracker that was given to me, was it some sort of decoy?"
"Of sorts. Uncle studied the mouse's black magic to figure out what to do to reverse the curse and possibly take back the kingdom. The nutcracker I made was a test, and the girl that would care for it the most despite it being a toy was the one who would break the spell. The snow queen could only transform me after the curse was broken. Now, with the mouse king dead, I can take my rightful place as king."
"Why me, though?" Carrie asked, placing her head on Jeno's shoulder.
"I know we just met a few hours ago, Carrie," he blushed, "but I somehow knew it'd be you. I've seen you come into the shop before, but I was always in the back working on a toy or cleaning."
"And you never said hello?" she met his gaze.
Jeno's faced turned a deeper shade of red and turned his face back to the snowy path. "Did I ever that I'm a bit shy?"
"You didn't seem shy at the party?" Carrie chuckled.
"In all honesty, I was a nervous wreck. I knew I would be seeing your beautiful face, but I never expected you to look like an angel. I was speechless."
Carrie hid her face in her hands and giggled.
"It's true. Your smile, your eyes, your red hair, everything. My favorite thing about you is your heart and how kind it is."
"Thank you, but I'm not perfect," Carrie replied, uncovering her face.
Jeno pressed a kiss to her temple. "You are to me."
The girl next to him said nothing but rested her head back on his shoulder, her arms now wrapped around his torso. Neither of them could feel any happier or in love than they were in that moment.