Updated: Dec 23, 2022
The childhood fantasies of being a pageant queen came rushing back, just as those of being on the float had the day before. Twelve women, representing the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas, and each one of them shared the dream. Some of them, like Sasha and Marcy, had been the queen already. It was one more silly tradition and more reason that there was no place like Christmas at Christmas.
With her hair styled and wearing the gorgeous dress, Christmas added a small red bow to her hair. She was not one to fixate on her looks. She was pretty, she knew, maybe even beautiful. Tonight, though, as she looked at herself in the dress, she was hot. She left the dressing room and joined the other girls, each of them just as gorgeous, and probably more so, she thought.
“Honestly,” Marcy said, looking her over, “Diane killed it with that. Jesus, I’m asking CJ for my money back.”
“Don’t be too hasty,” Christmas said, smiling. “All he did is make a dress. It’s who is in the dress that really matters, and you look like queen material.”
“Every one of us does,” Leah said, eyeing the other girls.
“These are people, Leah,” Sasha said, “Not an all you can eat buffet.”
“Let a girl have her Christmas dream,” Leah said, pouting.
They milled about behind the stage until Kellen Miller appeared from around the corner.
“Everyone ready?” he asked, and received a dozen nods.
Holiday music played from the speakers and the girls entered. Whistles and applause, a standing ovation from the crowd greeted the line of a dozen women. The North Pole was a large place, but still only fit just over two hundred. Cameras placed around the room were also streaming the event to others who wanted to watch, while Tommy Miller operated a donation website for the Scholars Fund. Christmas had moved into the digital age.
The previous year’s queen, Marcy, led the girls out and across the stage. They gave a curtsy and posed cutely for the crowd while they cheered. Then, they broke apart, six to a side, and Sasha took the stage.
She opened with a sexy rendition of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” which was sultry enough to melt the icicles over the doorway outside. Christmas loved the voice. Sasha was always the musical one, while Leah was their artist and Christmas the writer. The three of them fed off of each other’s creativity, and she figured that they always would.
Marcy was up next, wearing her expensive velvet dress. The form-fitting sheath was a mermaid in Christmas red, laced with white fur. The dress pressed her breasts together in a delightful, provocative valley that was likely making mouths water all over the room. She looked like she should be on a national stage, not one in some Podunk town like this.
While violin music played, Marcy danced and twirled, heating up the night with long-practiced moves. Christmas had not kept up her childhood dance lessons, which Marcy had attended alongside her. Clearly, the other girl had. How she managed those moves in a dress that tight was a Christmas miracle all on its own, let alone in heels. Marcy, though, felt the music like she was part of it, and at the end of the performance, there was raucous applause.
Leah came after, surprising everyone with an incredible act of artistic magic. There were gasps in the crowd and on the stage as she did it. Seemingly from nowhere, she produced a rolled-up poster, which showed City Hall in the summer. She shook the paper, and it ignited in a ball of fire that made them all step back.
The paper was unharmed, though, and now showed the same locale in spring. She flipped it again and in a fiery burst it turned to autumn, and again into winter. She snapped it, rolled it back into a tube, and then they watched as she crumpled it into a ball and threw it into the air. The ball burst into a flurry of snowflakes and she bowed to the crowd. There were shocked murmurs and then a loud round of applause. Christmas couldn’t explain a single minute of how it had been done.
“You’re full of surprises,” she muttered, as Leah stood next to her.
With a satisfied grin, Leah only winked at her. Julia took to the piano next, while Carry joined her to sing. The two of them looked at Sasha and motioned her to join them. Confused, blushing, Sasha came out to stand with them. Carry spoke quietly to her for a moment, Sasha nodding, and then Julia began to play. Sasha’s contralto took up Elvis Presley’s Blue Christmas and feet tapped in the audience. Carry came in on the chorus for Martina Mcbride, her Mezzo-Soprano hitting the middle and high-middle notes in a way that had the crowd clapping in time.
The two of them followed it with a rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, which left not a dry eye in the house. Then, they brought them back up with a flirty duet of What are you Doing New Year’s Eve?
Christmas almost didn’t want to follow the performance, sure that she was going to crash, and burn compared to that. Oddly enough, it was Marcy that came to her rescue, strutting out to the microphone like a true queen.
“Before we bring out the next entrant, I hope you’ll all forgive me for taking a minute to say something,” she said.
There were murmurs and nods from the crowd.
“There’s someone that I owe a lot to tonight, someone that I haven’t been kind to through the years. Despite that, she’s someone that stepped up without a thought for herself when I put myself in trouble,” She held out her hand to Christmas, who strode out on the stage, taking it, as Marcy continued, “If it weren’t for Christmas Carol, I probably wouldn’t be here tonight. I just wanted to say thank you in front of everyone here. Thank you for being the selfless person that you are.”
Christmas hugged her, and the crowd applauded again. Then Marcy stepped aside, and Christmas took the microphone. She looked out over the crowd, now quiet, all of them watching her, waiting.
“Almost seven years ago,” she began, “Everyone here took us in, my brother and me. We were just two kids that had gone through something unthinkable, and when the goodness of small-town people was put to the test, you all came through for us. For that, I’ll always be grateful. There’s no way I can ever repay you for the kindness and for the beautiful hearts you have. The only thing I know how to do is write words so, tonight, I’ve written a few for you.
There was attentive quiet from those assembled who shifted and waited. Then, Christmas began.
There’s a little town called Christmas.
It’s a place I love and know.
It’s a place that’s filled with warmth and mirth.
Especially when blanketed in snow.
She paused and beckoned off stage to Leah and Sasha, who came up to join her, holding her hands. She looked out across the faces in the crowd, packed so tightly, every one of them focused on her words. They were the faces of neighbors and friends. In those days, after the accident, every one of them had come to the house. They’d brought meals and water, clothes and gifts. Sometimes it was just a kind word or a question. How are you doing? They’d done it without thought and they’d done it for a simple reason, and it was that reason that this place would always be home. They’d done it because, in Christmas, that was just what people did. She continued.
Where friendships grow and last for life.
Where the spirit is always bright.
Like the lights that deck the street of Main.
Twinkling softly in the winter night.
In the town of Christmas, we don’t have much.
But we give it and give it with pride.
Because that’s what neighbors do, by God.
And we take each day in stride.
There were murmurs and a few chuckles in the crowd, agreement, but most were silent, and their eyes were misty.
In Christmas, you’re never an orphan.
In Christmas you’ll always have care.
In a town like this, like nowhere else.
Your family will always be there.
Wherever I go and wherever I’ll be.
No matter the path that I roam.
Whenever I’m sad or I’m lonely.
She stopped, looked down, and choked. Her friends squeezed her hands, and she found the strength to finish.
Whenever I’m sad or I’m lonely
Christmas will always be home.
The silence that followed was as deafening as the applause that came after. The words, given from her heart, delivered with the full weight of all she felt, the love and gratitude she had, had moved them all. Even Marcy, resplendent in her red dress, dabbed at her eyes.
For an hour after the performance, Sasha and Carry wore out their voices, with Julia on the piano once again. At the end of it, the final results of the Christmas Scholars donations were totaled, and Mayor Tinsley took to the stage in his Santa costume to announce the result.
“It’s an honor, every year, to see the talents of all the beautiful ladies,” he said, and paused for further applause. “Each year, the donations you’ve all made go toward sending our young people off into the world. Some of them bring their education back to the town, while others will go away and carry a little bit of Christmas into the rest of the world. No matter their path,” and he looked toward Christmas, then corrected, “No matter the path they roam. Christmas will always be home.”
More applause followed it, making Christmas blush as he repeated her words. The applause died down, and he continued, “The queen of this year’s Christmas pageant is… Christmas Carol!”
The applause sounded again, more loudly. Feet stamped on the floor, and they chanted her name, clapping, as she joined the mayor. Marcy joined her, too, removing her tiara and passing it on to Christmas. She hugged Marcy, hugged the mayor, and then curtsied for the crowd before stepping back to join the other girls.
The girls all congratulated her, then dispersed into the crowd as the music played over the speakers once more. True to her word, Christmas found Kellen Miller, who had a drink with her before taking her out for the first dance. Brad danced with Marcy and Leah with her date, while Sasha and Carry seemed to be quite friendly all of a sudden, twirling to the sounds of All I Want for Christmas is You.
She gave Kellen a kiss on the cheek and had another drink, before moving off to the side to catch her breath. She watched the partners change, Leah dancing with Tommy Miller, while Marcy and Kellen paired up, and Sasha swept Brad away. Mistletoe played, and all the dancers slowly swayed to it. As the music played, Christmas observed Sasha gazing into Brad’s eyes, the lifelong crush burning.
She had no right, she knew, to be jealous. Tonight, though, was supposed to be the night. Tonight, the tease would end, and she’d give in. It had all played out perfectly. She was the queen and tonight he’d be her king. She was hot for him, so hot that she could hardly stand it. Now that the pageant was over, there was nothing more that she wanted than to go home with him.
Instead, she watched his hands on Sasha’s hips, his smile as he looked into her eyes, feeling the mirth of the holiday. Sasha was gorgeous in her sexy dress, and Christmas couldn’t blame anyone for looking. But then Sasha leaned up as the song ended. She leaned up, and she kissed him, pushing her lips against his and pressing her body tightly to him in invitation. Brad’s face registered surprise, shock, but he didn’t pull away.
Christmas choked. The moment lasted only a few seconds and then Brad pulled away, but in those seconds, it felt like she’d been slapped. Not by Brad and not by Sasha, but by the cold reality that for as long as they were here, in this place, that what they had would always be a secret. She backed up, hit the wall, looked around in a daze. Brad gently pushed Sasha away, and he looked in her direction. Christmas turned and ran through the back corridor.
“Chris!” Brad’s voice echoed down the hall, a loud whisper in the quiet of the place.
Christmas leaned against the wall, wondering what she was doing. Brad joined her, took her in his arms, held her.
“Hey, I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t know that she was going to do that. You know how she’s always been.”
She shook her head and said, “I know. It isn’t that. It’s… it’s us. It’s this place. Brad, I don’t know what to do. As long as we stay here, it can’t ever be… it can’t be like those days in the south, you know?”
Brad was silent and then he said, “I know. What do you want me to do, Chris? Whatever you need, I’ll do it. Do you want me to go out there and tell the whole town that I love you? That I’m in love with my sister?”
They heard a sharp gasp from down at the end of the hall and, when they turned frightened faces in that direction, there was Sasha, her hand over her mouth and a look of complete shock on her face.
“Shit,” Christmas hissed, and Sasha turned and ran.
“Sasha!” she called after her and broke away, running after.
She caught up to her in the doorway, where her friend stood stock still, as though she’d seen a ghost. She stared, sightlessly, into the crowded room, where the music played, and the people danced. They carried on, oblivious to how her entire world had just changed. Christmas took her arm and turned her around.
“Sasha,” she hissed, the terror plain on her own face, “We should talk.”
“Chris? What… what did I… what did you…” she stammered.
“Not here. Please!”
Sasha nodded, slowly.
“Tomorrow. You and Leah. I’ll tell you everything. Please, just… don’t say anything,” Christmas pleaded.
“I… I won’t,” she said.
Without saying goodbye to anyone, Sasha moved through the crowd and left the place, vanishing into the night.
“She okay?” Leah asked, appearing at Christmas’ side.
“I hope so,” Christmas said, “Hey. Tomorrow morning, I need you to bring her by, alright?”
Leah shrugged and said, “Sure,” then carried on dancing.
Brad joined her.
“Is she going to be okay?” he asked.
Christmas shrugged and said, “I think I’m ready to leave.”
“Good idea,” Brad agreed.
They said their goodbyes, leaving together and arriving home in separate cars. Brad let them in, and Christmas changed out of the dress.
“You know,” she said, sadly, “I was really hoping that you’d take this off me tonight, but I think I’d rather just lay here in the dark and be miserable.”
He smiled tiredly and said, “You can lie here in the dark, but I refuse to let you be miserable. Let’s talk about it. No sense in pretending it isn’t happening.”
They did, lying awake in the dark and talking through the future. The first step, though, was to talk about the past.
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.