That meant he wouldn’t be there Christmas Eve. No making Christmas cookies, or listening to my dad sing off-key while my mom bustled around wrapping last-minute gifts. No decorating the tree. No midnight Christmas kiss.
No waking up in Grey’s arms. We were actually going to spend our very first Christmas in different states.
That was until Grey gave me the most unexpected gift of my life.
“Merry Christmas, darlin’.”
I heard the words Grey muttered in my ear as I tried to climb out of a deep sleep. Everything was peaceful and calm. I tried to cling to the last bits of the dream I was having, while still relishing his words. As the last threads slipped away, I opened my eyes.
“Merry Christmas.” I smiled.
“Christmas morning.” His eyes widened.
I nodded. This was the first time in my life I wasn’t waking up in my bed, in my room, down the hall from my parents on Christmas morning. It felt slightly surreal.
“We’ve got to get going.” He jumped out of bed, surprising me with his quickness.
I sat up. “We do?”
“Yep, come on. It’s Christmas. We’ve got breakfast and presents. Parents waiting. Your dad might need my help with the fire.”
I studied him as he rifled through his suitcase. He seemed excited, almost jumpy.
“Yeah, darlin’?” His head was buried in a pile of clean clothes. He tossed a pair of jeans on the bed.
“Everything ok?” I peeled back the sheets, and immediately wanted to climb back in bed. Sleeping naked had its cons.
“Of course. Just ready to get our Christmas started.” He threw a shirt next to the jeans then darted to the bathroom. “Be right back.”
I heard the shower sputter to life. I giggled. I guess Christmas brought out the kid in everyone. I walked to the bathroom and closed the door behind me. No need to waste water.
Have you ever thought of taking a vacation alone? I mean step on a plane, check into your hotel, and lie on the beach completely and utterly alone. No? Me either, but then right before senior spring break I got dumped.
Something about break ups makes you do things you didn’t want to do, and try things you didn’t know you were capable of.
That’s how I ended up at the Palm Palace.
That’s how I met Grey.
That’s how my spring break turned into the most unforgettable week of my life.
I’m talking about leaving your entire life behind—friends, family, school—with no turning back. No? Me either, but that was before a week of spring break changed my life forever. Before I did something I never thought I’d do at twenty-two. Before I fell in love with Grey.
Sometimes happily ever after isn’t always what you think it will be.
T.A. Foster once spent a monthlong spring break on South Padre Island, where she soaked in the Texas sun, beach, and learned what real Texas country music is. Sometimes fiction does spring from reality.
She grew up catching rays and chasing waves along the North Carolina Outer Banks and now resides in the state with her adventurous pilot husband, two children, and two canine kiddos.
T.A. has an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a graduate degree in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University. When she’s not chasing her two-legged and four-legged children or trying to escape for date night, you can find her reading, writing, or planning her next beach trip.
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