Midnight Kisses

Note: This story wraps around the flashback section of First Christmas Eve. I recommend having that one open in another tab to read right after Theo agrees to buy gloves in this one. And yes, I know things would be so much easier if I wrote in any sort of chronological order. 😝

November 2006 — Two weeks before Thanksgiving

“Are you certain this invitation wasn’t meant to be politely declined?” Quint asked, quietly, so as not to be overheard by their young hostess, who had taken the bottle of pinot noir to the kitchen to chill. “They are your friends, and there was no need for me to come along simply because I’m staying with you.”

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Merry and Bright

I gawked. On either side of me, Mom and Quint gawked, too, only they did it more subtly.

The house—mansion, really—in front of us looked like there had been an explosion in a warehouse full of the most gaudy outdoor Christmas decorations you can imagine, and all the debris had gotten plastered to it.

Well, perhaps some of it would’ve looked nice by itself, but thrown together as it was in a hodgepodge of lights, wire-frame reindeer, snowflakes, shooting stars, nutcrackers, and one very creepy, glaring Santa head with his mouth agape….

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Calling the Shots

I should have been more suspicious. Every other year, I got my flu vaccination in the clinic near our apartment. I go in, get sprayed in the nose, and walk out ten minutes later. So why, this year, did Quint wait until I came to the hospital with him to volunteer as Jagger’s handler, and then suggest we take care of it before I started for the day? Why did he pass Jagger off to a group of doctors and nurses—all very eager to pet him—and bring me into his office alone?

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You Can Quote Me On That

Note: Takes place between Wash & Fold and Graduation Day.

My pencil scratched across the yellow legal pad mutinously, with dark, heavy strokes. Apart from the scratches, the only sound to be heard was Quint occasionally turning a page of his book or Jagger sighing in his sleep. Both of them looked perfectly peaceful over on the couch. Quint was pretending not to notice the attitude of my pencil.

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Wash & Fold

Note: Takes place shortly after To Trust, Cherish, and Honor.

Well I thought it was a brilliant idea. Still do, actually, though I have a feeling that’s going to be changing as soon as Quint calls me out of the corner. I spin my ring around my finger, something I can’t seem to stop doing since I began wearing it a couple of weeks ago.

“Theodore, put your hands by your sides,” Quint says from somewhere behind me—sounds like the stove, maybe. “You’re meant to be thinking about what you did.”

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Scrabble: Brat Edition

Note: Takes place between Overtime and A Halloween Tale.

No, I did not get spanked, thank you very much. And I still think it was at least partly Quint’s fault. He knows us shopping together is just asking for trouble. But did that excuse me from going with him to pick out furnishings for the new apartment? Nope. Not even when I said it was going to be his office, so what did I care what it looked like? He told me we both lived there, and the shopping trip wouldn’t be a big production.


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Saved By the Jingle Bells

“You can’t spank me, I’m Santa!”

Yes, okay, that sounded ridiculous. But the whole situation was ridiculous. We were only having fun! Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

Most ridiculous of all was how serious Quint managed to look in an elf costume. “One,” he said, raising an eyebrow beneath the brim of his floppy felt hat.

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