Our Totally, Ridiculous, Made-Up Christmas Relationship

By: Brittainy Cherry

I would like to start by thanking YOU, the person who is reading this. For so long these stories have lived in my head and I never dreamed that one day people would be taking this journey with me and giving my words a chance. Giving me a chance. It means the world to me that you took the time out of your lives to read my work, and I hope you received a bit of enjoyment from the experience. XoXo

To my fellow authors—only you can truly understand the fears, the joy and complete madness of this world we live in. I have come across so much talent in this year alone that inspires me to hone my craft. Thank you. Keep writing and I’ll keep reading.

My beta team—the best team ever. Thanks for ripping my novels apart just so I can put them back together, better than ever.

A shout out to Abby’s Book Blog—for all the help you gave me for this novella!

To my Dream Team: Rebecca Berto at Berto’s Designs for the amazing cover. Mickey at I’m A Book Shark, the amazing editor that she is. Debbie Popp Haumesser, thank you for your proofreading skills. I love you so, so much! Jovana at Unforeseen Editing—thanks for your awesome formatting skills! I love you all!

To my best friends—too many to name, yet all so important. Thanks for loving me even though I go MIA while writing.

To the siblings Bryon, Tiffani, Brandon, Candace, Isaiah, Ben, Will: So much love, respect, and pride to be able to call you all family. Love you!

To my papa: Thanks for the love and support! Love you, dad!

Lastly, this one is for you, mom: The one who believed in my dreams when I didn’t know how to. Thank you for standing me in front of the mirror at a young age and having me say over and over again, “I am somebody. And I have a voice.” You’re the Sherlock to my Watson. Love you to the moon and back!

A family gathering. That’s the last way I want to spend my Wednesday night. Why the hell do people act like they actually enjoy these get-togethers, when secretly, they all hate each other’s guts? I mean, let’s be real. You wouldn’t hang out with those people if they didn’t have your last name, right? This sucks ass.

Pulling up to my parents’ house, I toss my cig into the car’s ash tray, cussing under my breath at how annoyed I am with myself for buying another pack. Yesterday I was supposed to have my final smoke, but then Dad called irritating the living hell out of me.

My hands travel through my hair, and I glance in the rearview mirror, rubbing my fingers over my tired eyes. No sleep last night—my full attention was on Britney. Britney…or was it Whitney? The palm of my hand flies up to my eyes and I squint, trying to grasp the faded words and numbers. Eva. How the hell did I get Britney from Eva? Oh well, it doesn’t matter.

My tongue runs across my hand, erasing the lasting ink stain from existence. Never gonna call her again. She might still show up at Hank’s where she met me, cocktail wizard that I am behind the bar. It’s a known fact that girls flirt with bartenders, and I’ve made more than my fair share of trips back to random apartments, always with a different chick on my arm. That’s where Britney—er—Eva met me. That’s where all of the girls meet me. I never led her or any of them on, and I am very straightforward with each girl, telling them that it was only sex and nothing more. That way, I’m pretty sure if any of them build up some fairytale romance then it’s on them, not me.

I look toward the enormous home before me and slowly exhale with a heavy sigh. Everything about Dad is based on showing off. The sheer quantity of tasteless, gaudy decorations filling the yard is embarrassing. It’s one thing if you love Christmas, but the miles of glittering tinsel, the prolific herd of reindeer, the giant Santa, and flashing lights are simply Dad saying, “Look at me! I have money!” I’m pretty sure NASA is getting a pretty good view of all this from up top, too.

For a split second, I think about retreating, pulling off, but then I remember hearing Mom’s voice in the background on the call last night. “He’s really coming?!” she cried out, sounding way too excited about me making time to visit. After spending most of my life letting her down, I figure I should at least show up for an hour. Or twenty minutes. Whatever. I’ll stop in and say hi for five minutes.

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