Chapter 1: The Text

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Chapter 1: The Text

A cold chill made its way down Andrew's spine as old man winter threatened to tackle him with a gale force wind. Andrew Ingram stood outside of Aly's Java Den, a new and popular coffee shop in the heart of Los Angeles. It was December of 2008, and it was times like this that he was glad to have the sometimes humiliating job of being a sidewalk Santa Clause. With the large red coat and winter clothes that defined Santa adorning him during those cold winter months, he actually found himself much warmer than if he'd been in his usual screen tee and shorts.

The California native and college junior was hard at work, ringing the bell the coffee shop had given him and hoping to drive customers out of the cold and into the shop. Most would go on about their business without giving him a second glance, but once in a while a child or one of his classmates would walk by and snicker, laughing and making lewd jokes about how he didn't need to take in the suit at all because of his already bulky size. It was hard not to let it get on his nerves or his mind, especially with assholes like Greg Simpson always going out of their way to make his life a living hell. However, this night was about to change his mood completely.

After hours of acting jolly and making himself look like a grinning fool, Andrew was about to go change out of his costume and head to his dorm room on the campus of Hollis University in Los Angeles, CA when his phone suddenly pinged.

Hey there handsome, whatcha up to? The text asked. It was from Ella Garner, one of his closest friends in the whole world, and the woman he loved more than life itself.

Hey! Just getting off of work. What are you doing? He replied to her.

I'm lying in my bed, thinking of you.

Oh...wow, really?

Yeah, I can't keep playing this game with you Andrew.

Game?

Yes, you know what I mean. I've liked you for quite a long time now, and I need to see you, tonight!

Are you serious?

Don't you feel the same about me?

Andrew didn't know how to respond at first. He'd fallen in love with her the moment she'd spoken to him. He'd always, since he was a young child, been a shy person. He'd had few friends for most of his life, and had never had a steady girlfriend. Except for the occasional date here or the blind date set up by his friends there, he never acted on his feelings or attractions, and often was content to stay in the proverbial "friend zone". However, Ella had cast a spell on him the moment they'd met.

It had been during creative writing class when they met sophomore year. They had been paired in a class project to create the first act of a play together, and after she'd flashed her smile and coaxed him out of his shell, they'd learned they had more in common than they ever thought possible. From their love of horror, science fiction and fantasy everything, to their taste in food and their love for writing, Andrew and Ella had quickly bonded, well past the parameters of the assignment and out of the class. Now a year and a half later, they were nearly inseparable, yet he still hadn't managed to confess his feelings for her. No matter how much confidence she brought out of him, he still thought of himself as a big, goofy nerd who no woman would be interested in romantically. Now here she was, texting him and telling him she had feelings as well. He was at a loss for words.

Finally, he looked at his phone, and smiled.

Of course I feel the same way. I've liked you from the moment we met, and you've made me happier than any other guy in the whole world.

Then meet me tonight.

Where?

At the corner of Lexington and Fifth. There's a really nice Mexican restaurant there we can grab a bite at or maybe get some drinks. Sound good?

Of course, I'll meet you there at six.

Great, and Andrew, wear that Santa hat when you get there.

What? Why?

I love a man who's willing to work for a living, and who will do anything to support himself. It's such a turn on.

Wow, ok, whatever you say.

See you soon, stud.

With that, Andrew was flying higher than a kite. He quickly ran inside to clock out with his boss, and then he ran all the way back to his dorm room, ready to go out with the woman of his dreams and finally find a moment of pure bliss and happiness that he'd never known before.




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