Chapter 2 - Decorations

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Chapter 2 – Decorations

“Ready?” Church asked, zipping up his jacket. I nodded and grabbed the keys. He slipped them out of my hand and we went outside and got in the car. I immediately reached to turn the radio on. I turned the dial until I found the Christmas station. Church kept his eyes on the road, his fingers tapping against the steering wheel in time with the song.

“We should get lights and string them around the headboard of the bed.” I commented, looking outside at the dreary day around us. There was pretty much no one out and about. Of course, you could travel our whole city in less than thirty minutes, so there weren't too many people living there anyway.

“Ooh, that would be romantic.” Church said, nudging me with his elbow. I smiled and nudged him back. He pulled into the general store a few minutes later. We hopped out. I took his hand as we walked inside.

This was where Church worked all week. He was recently named one of the managers. There were three. Someone else took the weekends. It was a pretty uneventful job. I worked at the antique store across the street, where I sold ornaments and figurines and such to the old women that came in practically every day. They all knew me by name and hugged me and pinched my cheeks and told me about their grandchildren.

“Hey, look, I was right. Isabelle got sucked into working today.” Church laughed, pointing behind the counter. She was there, counting ones into Mr. Thomas's hands.

“And eight.” she said as we walked up to the counter. Mr. Thomas grabbed his bags and shuffled out the door. He had to be at least eighty-five. We both walked up and leaned with our elbows against the counter. Isabelle sighed and chose to ignore us, looking at the desktop computer next to the register.

“Good morning.” Church said in a sing-song voice. She didn't look up.

“Izzy, come on, you know you want to talk to us.” I teased, reaching to pull at one of her perfect brown curls. She batted my hand away.

“Oh hush up. I'm doing my job.” she tried to scowl, but laughed anyway and looked up at us. Church slung an arm around my shoulders.

“Connor and I are out buying Christmas decorations today.” Church told her, pulling me closer to his side. Isabelle's face scrunched up and she stared at us in disbelief.

“Connor Burke and Churchill Blackburn, I am so disappointed in you. Christmas is next week and you're only just now coming out to buy decorations. Shame on both of you.” she shook her head. Church and I both rolled our eyes. Isabelle was such a drama queen. When she was annoyed with Church, she called him by his full first name, which severely annoyed him too.

“Don't be such a downer, Iz.” he tipped her pencil cup over and grabbed my hand, leading me away. We traveled over to the lights section. I stared amongst the different colors, considering. Mom and Dad always had the big, flashing ones.

“What about white for our room?” I asked. Church nodded in agreement and scooped a box of white lights into his arms. I grabbed a pack of small multi-colored ones for the tree that we still had to purchase. Church took care of the lights for outside, gathering them all into a basket. I decided that I'd better get ornaments from the antique store.

We checked out. Isabelle hassled us over the lights for a few more minutes before she finally bagged them up and we were able to escape. We dumped the lights in Church's car and ran across the street to the antique story. Mara, the owner, was working by herself like she did every weekend.

“Connor! I didn't expect to see you here today.” she gushed, rushing around the counter to smother me in a perfume-encased hug. She was fifty-three and shrinking in size, so she only came up to my shoulder. I explained to her that Church and I were looking for Christmas ornaments for our tree. She scolded me for not already having decorations, just like Isabelle, and then started leading me around the store, pointing certain ornaments out to me.

“Connor! Con, look at this one!” Church called excitedly from across the store. I made my way over to him, looking down at the ornament in his hands. I smiled. It was a cat tucked up in a stocking. Church had a little obsession with cats. Our cat, Kirk, was absolutely spoiled.

“We can get that one.” I agreed. He bumped his him against mine and held on tight to it as he continued to scan the huge boxes of ornaments that we had gotten in.

Thirty minutes later, we'd been suckered into an entire three bags worth of ornaments, all carefully wrapped in newspaper. I paid for them and we tucked them into the backseat of Church's car.

“Where are we going to get a tree?” Church asked as he started the engine. I shrugged. I honestly had no clue. Church pulled out his phone to look it up. I took that time to look up at the sky. The clouds were getting darker. They looked like of terrifying. I had an extreme fear of thunder storms. It was completely irrational. But I'd always been scared of them.

“Hey, I think it might storm.” I muttered softly.

“There's a Christmas tree place a few minutes out of town. We'll just hop over there.” Church said, pulling away from the curb. I swallowed the bad feeling in my stomach and settled back into my seat, listening to the Christmas music that continued to play from the speakers. I had a feeling that this wasn't going to end well.

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