Nine Years Later...

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Heidi's P.O.V

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother being with family for the holidays, I know it sounds cold-hearted and everyone says there's no place like home for the holidays, but that's not how I feel. My home for the holidays is hanging out at my BFF Ashley's place with her mom's chocolate chip cookies and their Roku TV. Holidays at my place have always been awkward for...special reasons. But my mom said this year I had to stay under her roof until the day after Christmas. Which ultimately eliminated my plans to stay away from home by sleeping over at Ashely's.

"I don't see why you're complaining, even I like hanging out with my family around Christmas time." I rolled my eyes at Ashley, even though she can't see since we're on the phone.

"Your family has all the comforts to get along in, mine doesn't." She sighed, I can almost feel it. "Either way, I couldn't sneak you in even if I wanted to. Dad's arranged to take us all to Disneyland, it's been mine and Bailey's dream since he was four." Bailey, Ashely's eleven-year-old brother, a stubborn sixth grader whom I found out new things about every day.

"You sure your parents can't slip me in?" "We're not that rich. Anyway, I gotta go finish packing, I'll test you!" The dial tone seemed to mock me before I dropped my phone on the bed with a sigh. "So that's it then, I'm stuck here for the holidays." With a loud groan I fell back on the bed, head tilting one way to look at my old green bunny Avery.

I'm not sure why I still sleep with her, I got her at a thrift store when I was three and haven't parted with her since. There's something about that faded pistachio toy that stopped me from giving it away every time. I reached over and held her to my stomach before dangling her above me to look into her black button eyes.

"What is it about you that keeps me from letting you go?" I didn't expect her to answer, but somehow I wished she could.

~

A bit later I was outside with Avery in my arms, gazing upon the upcoming sunset as a light winter breeze played with the ends of my waist length red hair. The way the clouds rolled overhead, along with the crisp cold Christmas air, made it feel like snow was coming. But in Florida, that was a pointless thing to wish for.

I saw snow once, when I was seven. It was a few days before Christmas and I was up late wishing desperately to see the land covered in white. Then after dozing off, I was awakened by snowflakes alighting on my face and low and behold; the backyard was a winter wonderland. I remember how happy I was to run outside, playing in it until mom called me back in. Somewhere along the line, I had lost Avery, but later someone came into my room and slipped her back into my arms. The last thing I remember is a voice answering my thanks and Avery's cloth body, cold from the snow.

"But who was that figure that brought you back to me?" I whispered, stroking Avery's ears and wondering.                         

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