ANOTHER YEAR LATER
Anna is stuck down the chimney.
Legs braced against one side, back pressed up against the opposite one, she feels very much like screaming, but that's never a good thing to do in the dead of night, so instead she settles for staring daggers at the brick directly in front of her.
God, isn't this supposed to get easier the more times you do it?
After a few more struggles that quickly cease when she realises that she can very easily fall if she moves a little too much and that will not end well at all. From a slightly lower point down the blasted chimney, maybe. At this height - not a chance.
(Okay, so she's not actually sure what exactly she's waiting for, but she's thinking something along the lines of a miracle? A Christmas miracle. Aren't those a thing? They are, right?)
She doesn't know how long she's been stuck in the chimney when a familiar voice drifts up to her, although it is long enough for her back, feet, and butt to be in a lot of pain (a lot), and her to have started letting out a steady and continuous stream of curse words that were intended to be under her breath but have probably ended up far louder.
"You okay up there?" the voice asks, laced with amusement.
"Shut up and help me down," she grits out, craning her neck to catch a glimpse of him.
Jonathan laughs, but quickly silences at the growl that Anna emits. "Okay, okay. Here's what we're gonna do. You're gonna jump - "
"What? Are you crazy?"
" - and I'm gonna catch you."
"Catch me?" she repeats incredulously.
"Catch you," he says in a serious tone of voice.
"No way," she begins to shake her head vigorously, but ceases almost immediately upon realising that her body is also moving as she does so and she's in a very precarious position in which bodies should move as little as possible.
"Do you have any better ideas?"
Anna bites her lip. Obviously, she doesn't. But, really? Can Jonathan even see up the chimney well enough to catch her? What if he doesn't? Oh God, what if he does and she ends up being too heavy and -
"I thought not," Jonathan has clearly taken her silence to mean she is idea-less (is that even a word?), and she is, but still, she does not think this is a good idea. Like, at all.
"Anna," Jonathan says. "Do you trust me?"
Anna blinks. "What?"
"Do you trust me?"
She frowns. "Of course I - wait. Hold on. Just because I trust you doesn't mean I want to jump down a chimney into your arms!"
"Alright then," Jonathan sighs. "Guess you'll just have to stay there..."
Anna groans, letting her head fall back onto the brick behind her and then wincing because brick actually really hurts. "Fine," she relents. "But if I break anything, you're using your expertise as a medical student to heal me up."
"Of course," he agrees. "Ready?"
"On three, okay?"
YOU ARE READING
Twelve Ways To Spend One's Christmas EveShort Story
"Anna dislikes being stuck three-quarters of the way down a chimney. She really does. Not to mention, she's still going round North America, and there's, like, three continents still to get through in about as many hours."