part ii / my true love gave to me

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Day 0: December 13

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Day 0: December 13

Eve exuberantly rounded the corner, her cheeks flushed and rosy because of the falling temperatures, her feet skipping across the snow-covered sidewalk. Main Street was busy that morning with bustling men in burly coats heading to work and delighted women with shopping bags dangling elegantly from their arms like bracelets. There was a sense of purpose floating about the air, because Christmas was coming soon in a few short days.

Eve trotted about the sidewalk, her head swerving back and forth in search of her favorite boutique. Catching sight of the darling place called Sarah's adorned with swirls and polka dots, Eve bounded across the street, narrowly avoiding a collision with a car and almost slipping on the ice. She held out her arms to catch her fall as she fell softly on a pile of snow.

"Better watch out. It's a little icy, you know," an unfamiliar voice scolded from nearby.

Eve glanced up and noticed a boy with unkempt midnight hair sitting in a wheelchair next to a metallic bench. Eve stood and glared at the boy before wiping the cold, wet snow from her new, expensive, red dress. "Well, someone's in a sour mood," she commented, noting the frown that was seamlessly sewn on his face. She sauntered over to him before promptly plopping herself beside him on the bench. "What's the matter with you anyway? It's the Christmas season! Everyone should be happy this time of year."

The boy shook his head indignantly. "Not everyone likes Christmas."

Eve furrowed her eyebrows and stared at the boy in shock. How could anyone not like Christmas? There was the deliciously frosted cookies, the colorful ornaments, the freezing snow, and the luminous lights. And the presents. Eve loved receiving them the most. They made her feel so extremely happy.

"Why don't you like Christmas?" Eve asked curiously, her fingers covered in her cozy gloves absentmindedly tracing the bench's bars. "It's the best time of year!"

The boy gazed out at the busy streets, full of people and cars. It seemed as though he were stuck in time as life sped around him, the world a movie he was watching, not because it interested him but because it was the only thing on television.

"Let me guess. You love the presents. The tree. The ornaments. The food," he listed monotonously. Eve nodded ecstatically, still wondering what his problem was.

He glimpsed sideways at her. She noticed for the first time that he had a scar trailing down his jaw, faded but permanent like memories. "Have you even... Never mind." He paused for a moment, deep in thought. "For twelve days, I want you to do something nice for someone. Twelve days, one act a day. Not hard, right? If you can accomplish that, maybe, maybe, I'll give Christmas a chance. Does that make sense?"

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