Chapter Four

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Author's note at the beginning of the story? Woah. This is a foreign concept. Anyway, if you want to fully enhance your experience during this chapter, play the song on the side when you see the word in bold. Of course, if there's another slow paced Christmas song that you'd rather play, feel free to play that, instead. But it just makes things more exciting, which is always a plus. Okay, shutting up now. Enjoy and I'll cya at the end.

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               “Noel!” I exclaimed, fighting to smother the smile that threatened to spread across my face. “’Wrshnug’ isn’t a word. Nice try though. You know, you may be one of the worst Scrabble players I’ve ever had the misfortune of playing with. And considering I’ve played this game with Piper and she may be the worst speller I know, that’s actually saying a lot.”

               “That isn’t fair!” he protested with a crease set in place on his forehead as he stared distastefully down at the current layout of our Scrabble rematch. After I had nearly crushed him the first time (final score: 128 points for me and a whopping 96 points for Noel), he had insisted that I had won purely out of luck and demanded a rematch immediately. By now we were halfway through our second round of Scrabble and I was already in the lead by a solid twenty points.

               “Explain to me the unfairness of the situation,” I pressed, staring at him with a bored expression because there was obviously nothing unfair about the fact that I was a better Scrabble player than he was.

               “It’s all about luck,” he argued. “If you pick up good letters, you’ll have a better game. You just keep getting all the good letters.”

               I rolled my eyes at his absurd debate. “No, it’s about who can take the letters they got and come up with better words. Last round I had an ‘X’ and I still managed to make a five-letter word. It’s all based on the player’s vocabulary and ability to think up words that they can make with what they’ve got.”

               He leaned back against the couch, folded his arms over his chest, and huffed in annoyance. “You tell me what words I can make with those letters other than something basic like ‘rug’ or ‘hug’.”

               I refrained from scoffing at his childishness. He wasn’t even trying anymore. “Hello? You could do ‘shrug’ or ‘wrung’. It’s really not that hard.” He suddenly sprang forward and squinted down at his letters to see if my words that I had concocted right on the spot had worked. To my satisfaction and his irritation, sure enough, they did.

               “This isn’t fair,” he decided for what had to be the fifth time, at least. “I’m playing with a genius. It’s not my fault you know more words than me.”

               “You’re in honors classes too, buster. I know you’re not dumb. You’re not even trying, admit it.”

               He shrugged. “This game is getting kind of old, not gonna lie.”

               I was about to offer a ceasefire and let Noel out of his misery by declaring we end the game when my phone started ringing on the floor a couple feet away from where I was sprawled out on the floor. I reached for my phone, stretching myself as far as I could out of sheer laziness, and pressed the ‘answer’ button once I had the phone in my possession.

               “Hello?”

               “Hi honey. How are you?” my mother asked, though I could instantly tell something was wrong due to the trace of hesitation in her voice.

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