A holiday shopping trip brings more gifts than expected.
By M.L. Laroche
Joy and Christie were slowly walking down Main Street, looking to complete their Christmas shopping. Blonde-haired and blue-eyed, Joy
was wearing blue jeans and a white sweater under her coat and had a long multi-colored scarf around her neck. A brunette with green eyes,
Christie was wearing blue jeans and a red sweater under her jacket and a red hat on her head. It was mid-December and it was cold and
"Let's go into that Jewelry store," Christie said. "I want to see if I can find a really nice watch for Dan, and maybe something for Kayla.
She is getting into jewelry."
Christmas music was pouring out of the shop, bright lights and Christmas decorations were everywhere. It was hard not
to be in the holiday spirit and the two best friends were filled with the joy of the season. Joy and Christie strolled into the jewelry store.
" I see the watches," and Christie headed that way. Joy browsed the jewelry cases while Christie made up her mind.
"Joy, come over here. help me choose between this gold watch or this silver one. They both have the same band but the gold one has
the day and date and are waterproof but the silver one looks classier." Joy said " I think that the one with the waterproofing would be
more practical, doesn't he sometimes have to go out to job sites?" Dan was a construction contractor. "You're right, Joy. I'll take the gold
watch, please," Christie said to the store clerk.
" Come over here and see this jewelry for little girls," said Joy. "it's a beautiful set, and it has the ring, earring, and necklace and
it's in blue, Kayla's favorite color. she'll love it." "I'll take this set too, please." Said Christie
After leaving the jewelry store, the women headed to the mall in Christie's car.
"I think that the mall will still have some of those dolls that all the little girls want for Christmas." Joy said hopefully.
"The Sisters doll line? Kayla has been begging for one." Kayla was Christie's seven-year-old daughter.
"Yes, that's it," said Joy.
"Have you seen some of those commercials? Where the characters act like perfect sisters all the time, but anyone that has a sister knows
that they often fight as much as help each other!"
"Do you think Dan will like the watch I got him?" Christie asked.
"It's a beautiful watch; I'm sure he will love it."
"Do you remember in college, the night we all went out for drinks and that cowboy wouldn't leave you alone? He was so drunk it was
pitiful, but he couldn't stay away from you."
"He was a good dancer as I remember, except when he kept tripping over his own feet! That
"How you managed to stay on your feet was a miracle." They both laughed, remembering. There was a pause in the conversation.
"I wish you could find someone, Joy. It's been over five years since Mike passed. It's time to start dating again." Christie said. Mike had
been Joy's husband.
"Maybe, but I'm not sure yet. Besides, who?" asked Joy.
Christie thought she could find a few potential suitors. They walked quietly for a moment until they reached Christie's car and started off to
"Last week, the kids and I were going down to the mall. Well, they heard me refer to a motorcycle as an idiot because he kept cutting in
front of cars, weaving in and out of traffic. So, I called him an idiot, not even thinking that the kids were in the car the whole time. So, we
were pulling into the mall parking lot. I had the windows down because it was a beautiful day and a motorcycle pulled up next to us. Big
Burly guy wearing biker's black leather. And of course, Jacob yelled at the top of his lungs, mind you, he's three years old and can yell loud,
'Look, mommy, there's an idiot.' I wanted to die of embarrassment right there on the spot. Thank God the light changed, or God knows what
would have happened."
"Oh my God, Christie, that could only happen to you," laughed Joy.
"Or anyone else with young children," laughed Christie.
They arrived at the mall and managed to find a parking spot in the lot's far corner.
"Time for the hike of the day," Joy said as they began their trek through the mall parking lot. A warm blast of air greeted them as they
opened the mall door. People were everywhere doing their shopping. The mall was dressed up in its holiday finest. The two women headed
for the toy store in the mall. Joy hoped to score one of the Sisters dolls for Christie's little girl, Kayla. When they made it to the kiosk, there
were several dolls left. Joy hurriedly reached for one only to find another hand going for the same doll at the same time. When their hands
touched, a tingle ran up her arm.
"Excuse me, I was here first," said Joy.
"Pardon me, but I was here first," said a tall man in a green sweater.
"There are other dolls left. Why don't you grab one of them? I really want this one." Said Joy
"So do I," said the man, "It's for my niece."
"That one over there is cute." They argued good-naturedly for a few minutes.
"I'll give up my claim on this doll if you have lunch with me at the restaurant here in the mall." The man introduced himself. "I'm Ryan
"I'm Joy, and I'm not alone. My friend Christie is here with me," Joy said, indicating Christie, who had been smiling with amusement.
" That's better yet. I would love to have lunch with two beautiful women," said Ryan.
Joy liked this man; he was tall and good-looking with dark brown hair and green eyes. He
was tall and wide in the shoulders, and those hands were hot, and he had a good sense of humor.
"Christie, meet Ryan Delacroix. He's invited us for lunch," Joy said.
"We've met. Ryan is my cousin." Said Christie.
"Hi, Christie, how's it going," said Ryan with a smile.
Joy paid for the doll, and they all headed toward the restaurant. During their meal, Ryan was charming and attentive, especially to Joy.
At the end of the meal, Ryan pulled Joy aside and asked for her phone number.
"I would really like a chance to get to know you better, Joy. Maybe we can go out to dinner
some night?" Ryan asked.
" Maybe you can help me figure out what to get a 9-year-old girl for Christmas," Ryan added
Joy hesitated and then decided to give him a chance. Christie had vouched that Ryan was a good guy. She was lonely, and it had been
five years. They exchanged phone numbers. As Christie and Joy walked away to finish their shopping, Joy found herself looking forward to
seeing Ryan again, perhaps her own special gift to herself.