Bonus Chapter - Merry Christmas, Baby

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This bonus Marty and Jess chapter was my addition to the Wattpad Block Party a year ago. I've posted it to celebrate a new bonus chapter that has been posted in the Wattpad Block Party – Winter Edition III. Details about it are at the end of this chapter.


Christmas Eve 1965

"I want us to get a Christmas tree this year."

Jess turned around to find Marty emerging from the back room of the drugstore, a shopping bag in his arms. "You mean for you and Mr. Dwyer?"

"No, for your apartment. I got ornaments and lights for it, see?" he said holding the bag open. Inside were the last of the drug store's Christmas decorations that hadn't sold.

"It's a nice idea," she said with confusion. "But we're not going to be there to enjoy it." They'd already made a tradition of celebrating Christmas with each other on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning was spent at the Blackwell house where they celebrated with Doug, Donna, their little girl, Lisa, as well as Uncle Jonathon and Annie. After lunch, they went to the apartment above the drug store where Marty lived with Mr. Dwyer and had Christmas dinner with him. "Don't you think it's a waste of money to buy a tree just for one night?"

Marty let out an exasperated breath. "Come on, Jess! It'll be cool to have our own tree with lights and decorations." He put his arm around her waist and pulled her close with knowing smile. "It'll be romantic," he said, and kissed her.

She couldn't help laughing. "You've never needed a Christmas tree to be romantic before." His smile fell, and she immediately felt bad for shooting down his idea. "But if you really want a tree, I suppose we can."

His face lit up. "Let's go get a tree!"

He turned off the last of the lights inside the drug store, and after they stepped outside, he locked the door. The late afternoon sun was low and the winter air was crisp, but Jess didn't mind the cold. Walking hand in hand with Marty, a warmth infused her. Through all the years she'd been keeping her relationship with him a secret, she'd never been able to hope they'd be able to walk through town out in the open.

The gas station at the corner had only a few trees left for sale, and Jess and Marty examined them silently. "They don't look that great, do they?" Marty said sourly.

"I guess when you wait to the last minute to buy a tree, all the good ones are taken." Some had crooked trunks which gave them an odd shape, others hadn't filled out completely.

"Hello, Marty, Jess," Hank Garvey, the station owner said, approaching them while he wiped oil off his hands with a dirty rag. "You lookin' for a tree tonight?"

"We were," Marty said, still looking at the sad assortment of trees.

"Take anyone you want for a buck. Tomorrow I'll be selling the rest for firewood."

Marty and Jess looked at each other. A dollar for a tree was a good deal. Marty approached one that had a section of stumpy branches from top to bottom, perhaps because it hadn't gotten enough sunlight. He turned it around. "How about this one." The other side was thick with healthy green branches. "We can put the bad side against the wall and it'll take up less space that way."

Jess grinned. "I like it!"

After they paid Mr. Garvey, Marty took hold of the bottom of the tree, and Jess held the trunk near the top. By the time they'd walked the three blocks to her building, the sun had dipped below the horizon and the street lights came on. It was a struggle getting the tree up the narrow staircase to her second floor apartment and through the door, but they managed to get it in.

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