“So, your name is Noel?”
“That’s what I said.”
“It’s French, Noel, meaning Christmas Season, so you’re actually the Christmas Season, all year long.”
“Wow,” she said. “I never heard that one before. Thanks. I never met anyone like you before either.”
“Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?” he asked, smiling.
“What do you think,” she growled, going back to her magazine.
“Who was that?” asked her friend, dropping her packages on the floor and raising her arm to order her usual.
“Some guy who knew what Noel meant.”
“Ah,” she said, unwinding her scarf. “I got a lot done. I don’t know why people order things on line, It’s so much fun being around all the happy people.”
“You’re the only one who thinks people are happy.”
“So not true,” she laughed, thanking Bob for her coffee and cookies. She watched him walk away. “You know, I think Bob has possibilities.”
“What brought that on?” she asked, shoving her magazine into her bag. “You’ve seen him practically everyday for over a year.”
She shrugged. “He just seems cuter, or something.”
“It’s Christmas, that’s all.”
“I’m going to go over there an kiss him,” she said getting up.
“NO, WAIT!” shouted Noel, but it was too late.
“Yes? Something wrong with the cookies?”
“No, the cookies are fine, thank you. I was wondering if it would be okay if I kissed you?”
Bob came around the counter, grabbed her hand, dragged her into the back room, pushed her against the wall and, well, you know…
“How was it?” asked Noel.
“Better than I expected,” grinned her friend.
“What do you mean?”
“You know what I mean,” she sighed. “Are you dating?”
“I hope so,” she laughed. “He said he’s been crazy about me from the moment I walked through the front door.”
“But he never said anything?”
“He said he couldn’t. I’m a customer, but he was thinking of quitting, just so he could ask me out.”
“But what you just did in the back room was okay?”
Bob came over to the table. “Can I sit down?”
“Aren’t you working?” asked Noel.
“Not anymore,” he said, grinning broadly. “I just got fired.”
“Oh, no! I’m so sorry!” said her friend.
“Are you kidding?” he laughed, leaning toward her. “You, or this job? No contest.”
“Okay, three’s always a crowd, so I’ll leave you two…whatever you are…alone. Talk to you tomorrow Annie. Bye Bob. Good luck.”
They kind of waved goodbye but they were looking at each other and didn’t really see her leave.
“Yo, Noel!” said a guy crossing the street. “Sup?”
“Yo? Sup? And your parents paid for a college education.”
He stuck his tongue out at her.
“Oh, very adult,” she said, but she turned away so he wouldn’t see her laughing.
“You better watch out…” he sang.
“And I better not pout?” she asked.
“No, he said, you better watch out because you’re getting old and cranky. You used to be FUN!”
She gasped, dropped her bag, made a snowball and threw it at him.
He sputtered and brushed off the snow with his hand. “Never in the face. You don’t want to mar my extraordinary beauty.”
She threw another one.
“Hey!” he said, shoving a handful of snow down her back.”
“COLD, COLD, COLD,” she yelled, jumping up and down.
“I can warm you up,” he said. “You know I can.”
“How? Do you have hot chocolate on you?”
“Don’t make me do it,” he said, his eyes sparkling.
“DON’T YOU DARE,” she said, shoving him as hard as she could.
“Will you come home with me? If you say no, you know I’ll do it.”
“Your sister is in there making out with BOB!” she said, pointing at the cafe.
“Don’t care. She’s all grown up, in case you haven’t noticed.”
“This is blackmail,” she said, stamping her foot.
“Don’t care about that either,” he snickered. “I’m going start any second.”
“Fine,” she said, reaching for her bag. “Do you have hot chocolate?”
“You know I do,” he said, putting his arm around her. “I even have marshmallows in the shape of tiny stars.”
“Were you really going to do it?” she asked, snuggling closer.
“Yes. That’s how bad I want you.”
“You don’t even know all the words.”
“I do now.”
“I hate it when someone sings, The First Noel.”
“I know,” he said, kissing the top of her head. “I know.”
“Can we put your Christmas tree up?”
“Anything you want,” he said, squeezing her. “I bought new ornaments, just for you.”
“Wait. Doesn’t that mean you love me?” she asked, stopping and turning toward him.
“I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what it means,” he laughed.
She snuggled back under his arm and said, “It’s just this whole Christmas thing. It’ll wear off in a week or two.”
“Whatever,” he snickered.