Snippet Saturday is the brainchild of author Lauren Dane, wherein a group of authors selects thematic excerpts from their work and shares them on Saturday mornings. This week the theme is holidays.
The story Claustrophobic Christmas is obviously about one particular holiday, and this scene takes place on Christmas morning. Be aware that this contains MAJOR spoilers since it occurs near the end of the book, but it’s a scene that takes place with James (the hero) and his family after the traffic jam from snowy hell (wherein he hooked up with the heroine, Darcy) has ended.
“What am I supposed to do with the sweater I bought Darcy?” James’s mother complained on Christmas morning. “When you told me you were going to fetch her in Texas, I ran right out to make sure she’d have a gift under the tree. I paid fifty bucks for it over at the mall and nobody else is small enough to fit it.”
“Especially not my wife.” Sal’s husband Tod laughed and elbowed James where they sat together on the couch. “I think she’s gonna have twins this time. I am the man.”
“I’m not that big yet.” Sal glanced up from the floor where she sat with her son, pushing wooden trains around the track Santa had left. “I can still wear my normal clothes.”
“Do you want to take the gift to her?” Mother asked James. “I’m sure if you take this nice sweater with an apology, she’ll change her mind. You must have done something to her.”
Oh, he’d done something to Darcy, all right, and he hadn’t been able to quit thinking about it for two days. James closed his eyes, gritted his teeth, and wished all the nieces and nephews would leave the room so he could utter a few choice curse words.
That wasn’t about to happen. The kids were neck deep in new toys and candy, racing around the great room like monkeys on speed. In fact, Nita’s four-year-old daughter Constance was currently sitting on his feet and rocking into his shins. She liked to bump. She’d knocked the back off one of Nita’s armchairs from thumping it so much.
“Going over there is not a good idea,” James said. Darcy’s brothers were small but
scrappy. If they had any inkling what he’d done to their sister, he’d be mincemeat, and not the tasty holiday pie kind of mincemeat.
“Leave Jamie alone, Mother.” Nita sat down on his other side, a half-eaten peppermint stick in her hand, and waved it at their mother like a magic wand. “It’s Christmas. Begone, evil spirits.”
“He must have done something,” Mother repeated. “It’s always the man.”
“It ain’t neither,” Tod argued. “Women’s as much trouble as a flat football in a playoff game.”
Nita bit the peppermint like she wanted to bite off their mother’s head. Or maybe Tod’s. Their sister’s husband was nobody’s favorite, though he’d improved the past year or so. “It’s not Jamie’s fault.”
James squeezed the bridge of his nose, wishing his headache would disappear. “It’s okay, Mother. Darcy doesn’t need many sweaters in Texas.”
“Everybody needs a sweater when it snows. If the electric goes out like in ’97, we’ll all need sweaters. We’ll need long johns and sweaters.” Mother frowned. “We should stock up on bread and milk.”
“There’s not going to be an ice storm.” Nita leaned against James’s arm and licked the peppermint. “Tomorrow it’s supposed to be sunny.”
“Darcy might need the sweater if she didn’t bring anything warm home,” Mother said, as if Nita hadn’t spoken.
“I’m sure she’s properly outfitted.” James bounced Constance on his feet, a mini-version of horsie. “The snow we got last night already melted.”
Mother shook her head, her coiffed grey hair not moving an inch. “I’m just so disappointed.”
“That it isn’t going to snow more?” James asked.
“No, that you ruined things with Darcy Burkell. She’s a nice girl. Very responsible, even if she does live in Texas. I thought this meant you were finally going to settle down.”
“So you’ve mentioned.” James rubbed his forehead. “About a hundred times.”
If you want to know how poor James got to that point, you can find Claustrophobic Christmas here. I *think* it might be going on sale to .99 cents sometime soon, too!
More holiday action: