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Twelve Days in Christmas, Chapter Eight

Updated: Dec 21, 2022


December 20th: Christmas Olympics

Brad and Christmas arrived at the carefully laid out Christmas Olympic Grounds just outside of town, early in the morning. The silly competition benefited both the locals and the visitors. For the locals, the prizes were purely for esteem. The town’s standings and records went back just over fifty years, cataloging the winners of such events as sledding, ski races, ice skating races, snowman building contests, and other silly sports. For the visitors, they gave prizes out as gift certificates for local businesses, an encouragement to spend further dollars in the local economy.

Christmas signed herself up for a sled race and ice-skating race, then accepted hot chocolate from Harry Linkman, who had set up a table with snacks and hot drinks. The first round of racers trudged up the steep slope of Mount Christmas, little more than a high hill, but the largest one around town. Taking up her saucer sled, she paired off against one of Marcy’s cohorts, Julia, for the first race. They settled in at the starting line. At the bottom of the hill, she could see Brad and Mayor Tinsley, stopwatches in hand.

Tommy Miller, the youngest of the Miller boys and her roadside savior, stood ready to count down. The mayor waved a red flag, showing readiness. Christmas pulled her scarf tight over her face and cinched down her hat, then placed her gloved hands in the snow. Tommy counted down from five and then blew on his whistle. The racers shoved off, rocketing down the slope with a whoop. Legs first, Christmas leaned back, and the sled picked up speed. The meltwater was perfect today, and the lubricated bottom of the saucer slid easily over it, bouncing over the bumps as she held the straps.

Julia’s sled did a spin as it leapt over a large mound of tightly packed snow, but she recovered, and they were nearly even a second later. Christmas leaned further, but misjudged just how far. The sled hit another large bump, and she shrieked as it flipped backward, sending her rolling a few feet down the hill as the saucer sped away, riderless. She heard Julia cackle at her misfortune. A series of groans reached her from top and bottom, then a chorus of cheers as she got to her feet and waved.

A further round of cheers accompanied Julia’s crossing of the finish line. Marcy, Jason, and Carry surrounded her, all of them congratulating her on the win. Christmas trudged down the rest of the hill, retrieved the sled, and then made her way over. Grudgingly, she put out her hand.

“Nice finish,” she said.

Julia looked at her hand, then took it, but said nothing. Honor satisfied, Christmas trudged back to stand with the rest of the observers. Sasha handed her cocoa.

“You’re not going down?” Christmas asked.

“I’m up at the end.”

Christmas walked away and, for a while, watched the children building snowmen, then caught the second round of ice skaters, then returned to the sleds. Leah had won the second round. The competition dwindled down until Julia ended with the prize, beating out Marcy and cementing her place in the town’s rankings for the year.

Just after snacks for lunch, Christmas faced off against Marcy in an ice-skating race across the lake. This heat would put one of them in the semi-finals. They shook hands at the starting bank and waited. The whistle blew, and the two of them pushed off. Knees bent and leaning forward, Christmas stroked across the frozen lake. She already knew, from previous years, that Marcy’s victory was practically assured. While a competent skater herself, she’d never had the knack for it that Marcy had.

Marcy quickly took a lead on her, then pulled ahead. She stroked and Marcy swizzled, just for show, casting a quick glance back at her and smirking beneath her helmet. Christmas cringed and pushed harder, gaining, but still behind. Overcome with her superiority, Marcy then made a flourish that Christmas knew was potentially disastrous from the moment she saw it coming. Marcy should have known better, but she was feeling arrogant and untouchable.

“Don’t!” she shouted, but Marcy had already done it.

She did a Salchow, taking off from the back inside edge of one skate, intending to land on the back outside edge of the other. It was showy, and it was stupid. It was Marcy. Marcy completed the jump perfectly, and if this had been a figure skating competition, she’d have earned some marks. The landing, though, resulted in a loud crack that made Christmas skid to a stop. Marcy shrieked, and then Marcy was gone.

Christmas had only time to blink as the girl went through the ice. She heard shouts and cries from either bank. Quickly, she sat, tugged at her laces, and tossed the skates. She crawled on her belly toward the hole that Marcy had vanished through.

“Chris!” she heard Brad, Sasha, and Leah all shouting.

She approached the hole, her heart hammering, looked about quickly, then sucked in a breath. You didn’t live in a winter town and not get lessons in what to do when you fell through ice, but it hadn’t happened as long as she’d been alive. Still, the old lessons came back, the same lessons that Marcy should have known. She only hoped that Marcy had remembered the ones about cold shock better than the one about not jumping on an icy lake while wearing heavy skates.

Bracing herself for the shock, she went through the hole. The frozen water was an immediate and paralyzing thing, her body telling her to breathe rapidly as her blood pressure and adrenaline surged. She fought the reaction with a mental effort, looked up to where the sunlight fell through the hole in the ice. Marcy, to her credit, hadn’t panicked as badly as Christmas thought. She was kicking her way up, but the skates were making it difficult, nearly impossible. Getting them off, though, was equally impossible.

Christmas gauged that about a minute had passed since she went under, meaning the cold shock was just beginning to wear off. Still, there wasn’t much time. Just a small drop in body temperature and they were in real danger. She kicked down, reached for Marcy, and grabbed her hand, yanking her up. Together, they kicked toward the surface until they reached it. Submerged, she pushed Marcy upward, her muscles wanting to seize up. Marcy scrabbled up and over the ice, rolling away, shaking.

Christmas broke the surface and gasped, clawed at the ice, and then Marcy was helping to drag her over. Marcy’s entire body trembled. Christmas, not much better off, pushed her away from the hole until she felt confident that they were out of danger from falling back through. She gathered the other girl up, hauled her to her feet, and dragged her toward the bank, where paramedics were already making their own way out onto the ice.

Two of them each took one girl and threw blankets around them, hurrying them toward an ambulance to get them out of their clothes and start warming them up. Brad and her friends were jabbering, but it was just noise. Goddamn it but she’d never felt so cold. A moment later, she was in an ambulance, and they were both being stripped of their clothes. The vehicle began to move, sirens blaring, speeding away.


***

Christmas thought that just about anything, even being in a frozen lake, was preferable to laying in a bed, silently, next to Marcy. The upside, and it was a big upside, was that she was finally, blessedly warm. Having successfully staved off hypothermia, she was now sharing a room with Marcy, whose teeth were still chattering from reflex. It was the only sound in the room and had been for several minutes now that the nurses were gone.

“Chris,” Marcy finally said.

“Did you actually just use my name?” Christmas asked.

“I… know I can be kind of a bitch,” Marcy said quietly.

“I didn’t say it,” Christmas replied.

“Just… thanks,” Marcy said.

“Well, I couldn’t exactly claim victory by default,” Christmas said. “You’re welcome.”

“They’ll probably pin a fucking medal on you for this,” Marcy said bitterly.

Christmas fumed, then snapped.

“What the fuck is your deal, anyway?” she spat.

“Like I said, I can be kind of a bitch. You’re just… everyone loves you,” Marcy said. “They love you because of your name, and because you’re––” she stopped, shut her mouth.

“I’m what? The poor little orphan girl? I don’t have money and they still like me?” Christmas asked.

Marcy stayed quiet.

“You know,” Christmas said, “I did not ask to be named fucking Christmas Carol. What a stupid name. Especially in a town obsessed with Christmas. No one asked my opinion about being some informal town mascot, just because of a dumb name. Yeah, I get treated special because of it, but do you ever see me trying to get recognition for it? I avoid it. Whatever your jealousy or… I don’t know what it is. It’s not because of me. That’s all you, honey.”

Marcy remained quiet for a minute as Christmas stewed, her brief anger cooling.

“I deserve that,” Marcy said, finally. “I’m sorry.”

“Apology fucking accepted,” Christmas said.

A moment later, Marcy laughed, and then Christmas joined in.

“Nice Salchow, by the way,” Christmas said, as the giggles died.


***

On leaving the little town hospital, Sasha, Leah, and Brad met Christmas. Julia, Jason and Carry were, likewise, waiting for Marcy. Each of them was embraced by their band, but by some unspoken agreement, they faced each other down. Christmas took the first step, Marcy the second, and then they hugged each other. Astonished looks showed on the faces of everyone else.

“Merry Christmas, Chris,” Marcy said as they broke away.

“Did she just use her name?” Leah whispered and caught an elbow from Sasha.

“You, too,” Christmas said, and they parted ways.

As she rejoined Brad and the girls, he said, “I guess Christmas miracles really do happen.”

“I suppose they do,” Christmas agreed.

“So, you’re not gonna go all icicle on us?” Sasha asked.

“Warm and friendly as ever,” Christmas remarked, “but if you don’t mind, I’m going to spend the entire night in front of the fucking fireplace.”

“We’ll be right there, too,” Leah said, brooking no argument.

“That was the stupidest, bravest thing I’ve ever seen,” Sasha said. “You’re the talk of the town once again.”

“Fantastic,” she said, grimacing.

***



 

More chapters of heartfelt friendship, erotic passion, and tearjerking tales await in the full story of Twelve Days in Christmas. Pick this story up in the shop to read all 142 pages of the beautiful story of sibling romance and the depth of true friendship.




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