A Little Too Much Christmas Spirit

"Whoa," I cry as I near trip over a garden hose, the plastic cased ornaments threatening to spill from my arms. What the hell is a garden hose doing all the way across my yard? We don't even have a hose out front; Mum waters the plants with the laundry water.

Bringing a hand to my forehead to keep myself from being blinded by the hot summer sun, I look over to the neighbour's yard and can't help but roll my eyes.

Comet Carmichael, that's what happened to my front yard.

"You see this hose, ladies, how it goes into the next yard? This hose connects into a tank not too far away full of real ocean water imported from overseas – I mean, you can't expect me to fill it up with crappy town water, right?" He shakes his head, putting on a grimace of disgust as he snakes both of his arms around the two girls he has in his yard. "No way, ladies, my water comes from Hawaii; nothing but the best touches this porcelain skin."

Snorting, I hug the ornaments to my chest and shake my head; those poor girls, should I let them suffer or save them from his wrath?

Oh, what the heck. 'Tis the season of giving.

"He's lying," I tell the doe eyed girls hanging off his arms before turning my eyes to Comet, who sighs and mouths game over, "and porcelain means pale, Comet, you're definitely not pale."

The two girls, blonde and red-headed respectively, share a look and turn their pouts upon him. I don't hear anything but I see their mouths move, and they don't look very happy. I smirk as Comet holds up his hands in defeat and they cross their arms over their ample chests, turning their noses up at him.

"Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea," he rolls his eyes as the girls start to walk from his lawn and back to the corner they came from – no insult intended, said girls live in the house at the corner, "if you wanted to be the only girl in the pool with me, you could have just asked."

"Comet, Comet, Comet," I drawl, raising an eyebrow at him, "you don't need to talk to appear desperate."

"Charming as always," he smirks, starting to walk slowly towards me, eyeing the cases in my hands with curiosity, "what have you been shopping for?"

"Christmas decorations," I smile down at the pile in my hand, which is only a hundredth of what I have bought this weekend; my mum and dad work which means I've had to walk so many times down the street, which sucks but has also been great exercise, "I even bought a jingle bell collar for my cat, Lily."

"What's a jingle bell?" Comet wants to know, blinking at me.

I drop all the decorations onto the grass and stare at him, slack-jawed.

"You know? Jingle bells, batman smells, robin laid an egg, bat mobile…lost its wheel…?" Comet's face remains blank and my horror grows with every second that ticks by. "You don't remember singing it in primary school? I mean it's pretty much unavoidable to have at least heard it."

"My family doesn't really celebrate Christmas, they're agnostic and they don't want to force any form of religion on me." Comet shrugs, looking kind of wistfully down at my ornaments and shoving his hands deep into his pockets. "But merry Christmas to you, I guess."

"Thank you," I say, narrowing my eyes at him scrutinisingly.

Comet, looking cute as always with his short, neat brown hair and matching brown eyes is wearing an uncustomary frown on his face…and as much as I want to say it doesn't bother me, it kind of does. I'm not much for enjoying the suffering of any human, even one that is a total pain in the butt.

I saved the girls from him before, and now, I can't help but want to save him from yet another disappointing festive season.

Because from the look on his face right now, Comet wants Christmas badly. And I know as a rule I make it so he never gets what he wants, but when what he wants is something that doesn't have long legs and a tube top – I guess I'm willing to help him.

"Comet, why don't you celebrate Christmas with me?" I offer, casually, trying not to make it sound like too big of a deal. I mean, yeah, I said I'd help the guy. But I don't want him taking it the wrong way. "Christmas is my thing…and the fact that someone on my street isn't celebrating it, kind of irks me. Especially when you have a reindeer name."

"Reindeer name?" He smiles, bending down to pick my ornaments off the ground and holding them out for me.

"Oh, come on," I whine, thumping him lightly over the head and shaking my own, "don't you know who Rudolph is? You have a lot to learn; so hold on tight to those decorations and follow me."

"Now this, this is an actual pine tree – smell it, smell it," I demand as he hesitates, eventually (after a sharp jab to the shoulder) leaning in and pressing his nose close to it, "isn't it great? Most people get the fake ones, which are nice and don't leave pine needles all over the floor, but…let's just say if men smelt like this? I'd never be single."

"It's nice," he agrees, "so what are we going to do with it?"

"Decorate it, of course, with those ornaments I made you carry in before," I inform him, pointing over to the couch where we left them. "Now grab them and we'll get started."

"You know, you're very bossy," he says, smirking at me and crossing his arms over his chest, "one could almost compare the way you're acting to how Videl does towards Gohan."

"What the hell is wrong with you, you're a freaking nerd – you have managed to reference Dragon Ball Z, Harry Potter, Yu-gi-oh, and heaven forbid, Star Wars all within a half hour of you being here," I say accusingly, stabbing a finger into his chest and furrowing my brows in bemusement, "how on earth do you get so many girls in your yard with a nerd cred like that?"

"I was just showing them my pool," he looks away and shrugs, "can't blame a girl for having a healthy appetite for swimming, besides – every other guy has watched Dragon Ball Z."

"But every other guy doesn't mention it in idle conversation," I point out, "and do these girls know exactly how many others have 'swam' in your 'pool' because they might want to check the chemical balance, you know, to make sure it's clean."

"Very assuming, aren't we Chelsea?" He doesn't answer me straight, walking over to the couch and picking up the decorations. "I didn't realise you were so concerned about my pool's maintenance; any special reason for that?"

For reasons beyond me, I feel my cheeks flush, "Oh no, pH, calcium hardness and total alkalinity levels are my thing."

Still with the smirk on his face, he raises his eyebrows up at me in amusement, "I thought Christmas was your thing."

"I have lots of things," I assure him, turning to face the tree and putting my hands on my hips, "now you take one of the ornaments out, and with the little loop of string attached to the top, you hang it on a branch."

"Okay," he says, and I hear rattling behind me as he opens up the case, tearing off the tape at the side.

Sighing, I narrow my eyes at the pine needles, flicking a branch absent-mindedly. He's being so nice to me today. I don't know what's up with him. Must be catching the Christmas spirit and, having never been exposed before, reacting pretty strongly to it.

"Excuse me."

His chest bumps into my back, and the top of my head with his chin, as he reaches across my shoulder to hang a shiny silver bauble on the tree. I feel my heart do a little jump in my chest and my shoulders tense. He stands there longer than necessary, lingering too close for comfort. But it feels like I can't move away.

It feels almost like I don't want to move away.

"What are you doing?" I want to know, refusing to act anything but casual.

"Admiring the view," he replies, sounding amused.

"What view?" I look up at him in bemusement, furrowing my brows and pursing my lips – but just as his lips part to speak, the sound of screaming fills the lounge and children take over the room.

"You can't do the tree without us," my little brother, Kent, protests, pouting and grabbing his friend's hand, "you promised you would do it with us, and only us! Who is this tall freak?"

Madeline rips her hand from his and runs over to Comet's side, tugging at his jeans and batting her eyelashes, "Kent, you idiot, this is Comet," she sends my brother a look of disparagement, shaking her head, "he lives next door, don't you know anything? I don't even live here and I know that."

"Whoever he is he's not allowed to touch my sister!" Kent walks forward and kicks him in the leg, grabbing Madeline by the back of her dress and dragging her from Comet's pant leg. I smile at him in amusement. He so doesn't care what Comet does to me, it's Madeline he's worried about. Kid's had a crush on her since she first bashed him in the face with a Barbie football.

Behind me Comet shifts away and plucks another ornament from the case, raising his eyebrows at my little brother and smirking. "I think your sister is in charge of the decorations, little buddy, and as for touching her…I'll do what I want."

Deciding to change the subject, I grab the ornament out of his hands and hand it to Alex, my brother's quieter, sweeter friend. Not that Madeline isn't sweet. It's just most of the time she's too busy trying to boss my brother around, and vice versa. Only usually due to my brother's ardent adoration of her, she wins.

"Okay, it's the season of joy and all that is synonymous," I tell them all, giving Alex a pat on the head and smiling as he awkwardly grins up at me, "so let's get to the decorating and stop arguing with each other!"

My brother sends Comet a scowl, before snatching one of the ornaments out, and then purposely stepping in front of him so he can't get to the tree. I roll my eyes at Kent and look to Comet to see what he thinks, but he's not even paying attention. He's staring right at me. It's unnerving.

Pursing my lips, I narrow my eyes at him, waiting it out to see if he stops. But he doesn't stop. Just quirks his lips at me for staring back. Starting to feel a little lightheaded, I bite down on my cheeks to stop myself from blushing. It's really awkward to look at a boy for so long. It's hard not to blush. Especially considering my hair colour; red.

"Comet, Comet," Madeline is pulling at his pant leg again much to my brother's dismay, her lips twisted into a scowl, "lift me up so I can put the angel on top of the tree."

His gaze snaps from mine and his smile turns sweet instead of wicked, "Sure thing," he leans down and holds out his arms, "climb aboard."

Madeline scrambled into his arms, causing my brother to glare daggers at him and Alex to shake his head, hitting his temple with a palm. He knows. He knows. Of course he knows – he's always been my brother's favourite friend, always. He's the smartest eleven year old in the world.

As Madeline puts the angel on top, she sneaks a glance at me and sticks out her tongue. Her little hands wrap themselves around the ones Comet has on her waist. I roll my eyes at her, and grabbing an ornament from where Comet tossed them down to pick her up, I start beautifying the tree up too.

"Poor Kent," Alex whispers to me as he puts a shiny red bauble a little below the one I'm hanging up, "his lady love is going after someone who likes someone else."

"Who?" I whisper back, blinking in bemusement. How could Alex know who Comet likes? He's barely even had the chance to be acquainted to Comet, let alone know who he's got the hots for. Usually it's not even one girl, it's a lot of girls he has his eye on.

Alex seems the type to disapprove of this. So I don't know why he's mentioning it.

"Oh," His lips twitch into an amused smile for a second, "obliviousness runs in the family, I guess."

What did he just say to me? Did Alex Charles Prescott just insult me? Oh, my God, my brother is such a bad influence on him. If it weren't for the fact I'd miss having him over I'd force him to make some new, better friends.

Ones that are not throwing ornaments at each other.

I narrow my eyes, about to tell Madeline – who's obviously been set back on the floor, much to her dismay – and Kent to knock it off, when someone else does it for me.

"Guys," Comet interrupts, gently pulling the Christmas decorations out of their hands, "Chelsea made a lot of trips down the street to get all these decorations – I saw her right out my window, though I didn't know what on earth she was carrying at the time – and you don't want to make her go again because you've broken them all."

"I do," Kent protests, not because he actually wants to, but because he wants to spite Comet.

Nonetheless they turn back to their jobs, poking and kicking each other instead of using the baubles and little candy canes as weapons. I look to Comet and mouth thanks. Grinning and spinning an ornament around his finger, he winks at me.

Christmas spirit must be working overtime for this.

I bite my lip, trying not to laugh as he falls off the roof, about the third time in five minutes. He's going to have bruises all over him by the time he's finished, maybe even broken bones. My attempts at trying to keep the laughter within aren't working, and he glares up at me from where he's lying on the grass, entangled in the lights.

"This is part of Christmas, nearly getting electrocuted?" He spits, sounding very peeved, something which doesn't happen very often. "It's horrible and I don't like it."

"Want me to do it for you?" I raise an eyebrow, knowing he's not going to back down and let a girl do it for him.

"No," he says, scrambling up to his feet and trying not to fall flat on his face, the lights twisting around his ankles and making it hard for him to move, "I'll do it, just get me out of these."

I walk over to him, eyeing the lights warily before bending down to unravel them. I don't know why he's having such a trouble staying up on the roof. It's not even steep. As for the lights it's like he's been using them to perform rhythmic gymnastics. And was doing a really bad job of it, for that matter.

Narrowing my eyes, I try not to pull too hard on them and grit my teeth in the effort.

"Getting angry at the lights too, Chelsea?" Comet wants to know.

"No," I shake my head defiantly.

My fingers brush his bare knees as I take off the last, twisted string of lights, and my cheeks warm at the exposure to his skin. I immediately look away from the lights and to his face. My cheeks grow even warmer. He's looking right at me. Again. He's starting to slowly sit up as his eyes flicker and look intently into mine.

My ability to move is lost once more and I realise the position I'm in, which makes me even more nervous. I'm sitting right between his knees, hands planted either side of him; and if he sits up…

Comet's face ends up inches away from mine, and he reaches up with a hand to touch my cheek. My traitor eyes close and I feel his breath, smelling of candy canes and white Christmas, pluming into my skin. I can feel my heart skip a beat, as his other hand reaches up too.

"Putting the lights up are we kids?" I hear my mother's voice and the sound of her car pulling into the driveway – and I jump the hell away from where I'm sitting, his lips only brushing mine before I pull away.

My face is going red as a fire engine and I pull myself to my feet, shaking my hair in front of my face so he can't see it. Instead I try and focus on my mum who is waiting for her window to go up and pulling the keys out of the ignition.

"Hey mum, yeah, he's having a little trouble," I laugh nervously.

She gets up out of the car and smirks at me, quirking an eyebrow and slamming the door shut behind her. "I imagine he's a little distracted."

Damn it, she saw it. But how could she not of, given the fact she saw the Christmas lights lying on the other side of us? Can't have one without the other. And what was he trying to start anyway, attempting to kiss me like that? What on earth was going on my brain to allow that to happen? Too much Christmas spirit. Way too much.

Feeling relieved that my face has somewhat turned back to its normal colour, I turn to face him, preparing myself for the worst. I mean he might want to talk about his feelings and that makes me want to be ill. Because as much as I want to put all the blame on him – I'm the one that got all flustered by touching his knees, for crying out loud.

It's as much my fault as it is his.

But by the time I turn to face him he's already halfway up the ladder and onto the roof again, dragging the lights up with him. "I'm not going to fall down this time."

"Okay," I murmur, biting my lip.

He better hope he doesn't fall off and get in amongst the lights again. I don't know what will happen, what with the skin exposure and the weird feeling I get when I'm too close to him. It's like walking into a book store or an anime store. Makes me feel completely dizzy.

Swallowing, I watch as he carefully crawls across the roof, trying to make it over to the other side without sliding back onto the grass. Eventually he reaches his destination and starts shaping the lights into an 'M', clipping them onto the tiles.

He gets about half way through, me sitting on the lawn and wrapping up presents, watching him – before he gets a little too overconfident.

"I think I'm getting the hang of it," he says, grinning as he starts on the 'C', winking down at me and waving his arms around, "look, I can move and not fall –"

Just as he says it, starting to incorporate other body parts into the movement, such as his legs – his foot snags on the 'C', tripping him and making him fall face first off the roof. I flinch as I hear an awful sound coming from the impact, and he moans, fingers digging into the grass as he pushes himself up. "Next time I do that, spank me."

He looks like he's about to say something else, but then he pauses, his lips twitching into a smile, "Oh, no wait, that's not punishment."

I raise an eyebrow at him and he smirks at me, turning towards the house and determinedly climbing up onto the roof once more.

Picking up my little brother's present I bounce it around in my hands, more bemused than ever; what is going on here?

"You fold the paper into an oval, staple it and then link it with another oval." I explain, folding my shiny silver paper and demonstrating. "It's kind of like making daisy chains, except a little bit different."

Comet picks up his stapler and grimaces, "Why do I have to use the pink one? You're the girl."

"I like blue best," I arch my eyebrows up at him, snorting, "whereas you just don't like it because it is an insult to your masculinity, or you think it is anyway. I think pink looks great on guys."

His lips twitch at that and he looks down at the stapler, shrugging and pressing down on it, creating a perfect little oval. His actually looks better than mine, damn it. All my strips are uneven and his are all the same. I knew I should have taken my VCD class more seriously, or at least learn how to use a ruler properly. Rulers are for STRAIGHT lines, but mine end up all wonky even with one!

Frowning at my crooked little circle, I grab up another piece of paper and link it up to my first one. "See, like this? And then we keep on going until it's as long as we want, and then you can put yours up in your yard or in your house, wherever you'd like."

"I get to keep them?" He wants to know, raising his eyebrows at me.

"Of course, you dummy," I stare at him like he's insane, gesturing to all the paper surrounding us in incredulity, "where on earth would I put all these paper chains? I bought you a little Christmas tree and some mini ornaments too…I'd have got you a bigger one, but they are kind of expensive."

"Really?" his mouth drops in surprise before a megawatt grin takes it's place, he places a hand down on my shoulder, squeezing. "Thank you! Never thought I'd say this, due to your being very evil most of the time, but – kid, you're alright."

"I'm not a kid, but yeah, I'm pretty excellent." I pick up the TV remote from the coffee table and flick through the channels, trying to find something interesting – oh, The Grinch. "See, this is what your parents are doing to you, stealing Christmas. I mean you don't have to be religious to celebrate it, lots of people who aren't Christian still do."

"Hey, Jim Carrey," he says, pointing at the screen as his name pops up, "this has got to be good then."

Grabbing the cushions and putting them into little piles we squash down on them, making ourselves comfortable and dragging the coffee table – with all the strips on it – to our feet. I hate to say it but I think (despite his paper chains being prettier than mine) I'm having fun. I'm really having fun.

In fact I've been pretty much having fun the whole time I've been hanging out with him, these past two days. It's making me start to forget why I dislike him so much. How can anyone this fun to be around, be dislikeable to me?

Except I know. I know exactly how; he's a player, he uses cheesy lines and makes up bogus stories to get girls over to his house. I've never seen him stick to one girl before, not ever. Not even once. They always come in twos which is even more of a turn off. I mean, he can't even stick to one girl for short periods of time? His complete lack of commitment is repulsive.

Frowning at the TV screen, I feel my happy mood start to slip. It's my fault for inviting him to participate in our Christmas celebrations. Now I know when girl's talk about his charm it's not some big, stupid joke. Because it's starting to work on me.

Sighing, I try not to think about it and return to doing my paper chain, concentrating it on making it better than his. Not that that's going to happen with sucky, uneven straps like the ones I cut out. But you can't blame a girl for trying.

A hand reaches over and covers mine, and I nearly slip and stab a staple through my other one because of the shock. I turn my head to face him, trying to remain cool but near busting my lip, biting down on it my nervousness. His eyes look into mine and he strokes my palm with a fingertip.

"What's wrong, you looked happy…really happy…and then you looked sad, why?" Comet wants to know, keeping up with the hand stroking – which is kind of distracting when one is trying to keep her composure.

I'm about to respond when Madeline and Kent burst into the room, arguing as per usual. But this time Alex isn't following after them.

"Tell me what that meant," he persists as she walks circles around one of the arm chairs, trying to get away from him. "I want to know what that meant."

"It meant," she starts, but then shakes her head furiously, face turning slightly pink, "well what it meant was none of your business, and I'm not going to tell you.""

"But it was about me, I saw my name – I saw it," He protests, sounding incredibly frustrated with her. "It's not fair for you to write stuff about me behind my back. It's mean."

Madeline spins around, balling her hands into her fists and glaring at him, "I said it's none of your business, and it was in my diary, you DOLT. You shouldn't be looking over my shoulder and you should tell me when you come in my room. One day you'll come in while I'm changing and get the fright of your life."

"Nothing scares me," he snorts (which isn't true, being rejected from her scares him), "so just tell me about it already."

"Don't tell me what to do!" She reaches back and slams her fist into his stomach, before she turns on her heels and runs out of the house, looking upset.

Kent stares after her, looking so confused, turning his eyes to us and realising we're actually in the room. He blinks for a couple of seconds before quirking an eyebrow, "Um, why are you holding my sister's hand?"

My face goes bright red with embarrassment but Comet is a little bit less obvious, shaking his head and pointing at my brother, letting go of my hand, "Are you kidding? You two were terrifying me. Yelling at each other like that, so loud. God, you're lucky I didn't jump into her lap."

Oh thank God he did not do that.

"Okay…" my brother says slowly, beginning to walk out of the room after Madeline, but not without shooting us one more strange look.

What is he doing giving us strange looks, anyway? I mean he's the one that was just having a totally weird fight with Madeline. They may play fight and throw things at each other but she's never full on punched him in the guts. I wonder what's going on.

Oh well. I'll find out in time I guess.

Picking up my stapler and ignoring Comet's gaze burning into the side of my head, I staple the straps together and return my eyes to the screen.

Of course he's not going to forget about it, though. People seem to try their darnedest to make life inconvenient for me. It's not fair, in my opinion. Especially not on Christmas. Girls should not have to deal with charming, cute and man-whorish boys at this time of year. Only cute, nice boys with nothing to hide but the mistletoe up their sleeve.

"Come on, what's up?" He wants to know.

I press my lips together, meeting his concerned eyes and shrugging, "To quote the famous words of Madeline Winters – none of your business."

He visibly flinches at my words and it makes me inwardly wince, feeling guilty for being so nasty. I mean he wasn't throwing a tantrum like my brother. He didn't deserve it. He was trying to be nice. I'm mad at him for things he never promised me he wouldn't do, things that shouldn't even be of my concern…but I'm finding kind of are.

"Sorry," He says, sounding expressionless and moving further away from me on the couch. "It's not."

I want to apologise to him for what I said, but it's probably better this way. Can't get too attached to him if he thinks I still hate him. He'll go back to acting like his player self and I'll go back to ruining his dates, it'll all be back the way it used to be.

Only two sleeps till Christmas and it's over.

"Oh God," I eye the bowl of marzipan icing, eyes widening, "what have you done? How much red food dye have you gone and put in there?"

"I only put a little bit in," he protests, grabbing a bit of it and sticking it in his mouth, "See? It's perfectly fine."

I stare at him, lips twitching with mirth; his lips are now the colour of Marilyn Monroe's, except very poorly applied and with very crappy lipstick. He has no clue, either. He thinks I'm worried about it being too severe of a red and that it will taste bad – but I'm worried about the fact that whenever anyone eats any of it, their lips will change colour.

Smirking at him, I pick up a spoon and hold it to his face, "Oh, you're right, it's perfect…" I wait for him to look into the spoon, "is there anything amiss in your reflection?"

Comet blinks before a look of horror takes over his face, and he turns about as red as his mouth is, "Oh."

Laughing, I point to the icing, "That's what everyone's lips are going to be like after they eat the cake!"

"Oh," he says again, looking down at the icing and scrunching up his nose, "well I've never made icing before so I've never had to put food colouring in; how was I supposed to know a quarter cup was way too much?"

"A quarter cup?" I smack a hand to my forehead, shaking it vigorously. "Comet, Comet, Comet."

"Hey," he says, grabbing the bottle of green food dye and tipping a bit onto his finger, "we should at least share the punishment, seeing as you didn't bother to explain how much food dye to put in the icing."

"What do you mean, share?" I quirk an eyebrow up at him, kneading the green icing in my own bowl a few more times for good measure. "And how was I supposed to know you didn't know how to make icing, it's pretty basic –"

Before I can explain any longer he's pressed his finger to my lips and is rubbing the green food dye right into them. I would have thumped him one for making my eyes a very putrid colour of green, but then I'm so shocked by him touching my lips that it's the last thing I notice.

I blink at him, trying to hold back my body's blush reflex, but he just smiles, "There you go; now we have Christmas lips together."

Turning my head away from him, I shrug, "Whatever, just start rolling out your dough, silly."

Anything to keep him distracted from bothering me.

One sleep, just one more sleep and a day and this will be over.

Thankfully Comet had a lot of my relatives, especially the younger girls, talking to him and distracting him from me for the day. I only got a 'Merry Christmas' from him and a surprise hug when he came in and that has been it for the day. Ten seconds after he let go of me, all of my cousins swarmed in and took him out of my hands.

This is great, actually, seeing as lately things have been really weird between us. All this time, being nice to each other because of the sheer force of the Christmas spirit? It's been taking its toll on me and wearing down my immunity to his charms.

If my cousins didn't take him out of my hands, who knows, maybe I'd be the one fawning over him and trying to sit in his lap? This thought alone is keeping me from feeling too disappointed but not enough to keep me from feeling a little bit.

I sigh and look out the window, where I can see some of his yard, covered in paper chains and tinsel. I'm happy his parents let him do that because it seems to make him happy; every so often I spot him looking out the window and grinning like mad.

The night is nearly over and people are already starting to leave, and we've barely exchanged a word. I doubt I'm even going to be able to give him his present at this rate. He'll be going out the door, escorted by my cousins, before I can get to him and by tomorrow it will seem silly. I have to give it to him today.

"Why so glum, chum?" My mother wants to know, prodding me in the shoulder and following my gaze. She squeezes me when she realises where I'm looking. "Oh, my poor baby – if it's any consolation he doesn't seem to be having as much fun with them as he does with you."

"Not like I care," I snort, getting up from my chair and ushering to the hallway, "I think I need a little air, my ears are starting to hurt from Kent and Madeline screaming at each other again."

"Okay," she says, and winks at me, "I believe you."

Sticking my tongue out at her, I walk out into the hall and through the front door; hugging myself when I realise how cold it's gotten outside. It's not supposed to be cold – it's summer, for heaven's sake. But it's near making me shiver.

Biting my lip I walk a little further into my front yard and turn around, looking up at the lights and then looking down to where he fell down – where he and I barely kissed just the other day.

A creaking sound breaks through the silence outside, and I turn my eyes to the front door; Comet.

"Hey, I've been having a great time," He informs, walking slowly up to me.

"That's nice," I shrug, determinedly fixing my eyes back to the 'Merry Christmas' lights on the roof , my nails digging into my forearms.

"I don't mean just tonight," He says, "I mean every other day I've spent with you."

"Doing Christmas things is fun," I dodge, fighting the horrible urge to look him in the eyes again.

"Being with you, is fun," he disagrees, shrugging out of his jacket and dropping it over my shoulders, stepping in front of me so I can't look over his head and at the lights, "and it's just not as much fun doing Christmas things with your cousins."

"What makes me so special?" I quirk my eyebrows up at him, trying to ignore the smell of his jacket, which smells like…it smells like my Christmas tree. It smells like pine needles.

"I don't know if you have noticed," he snorts, sounding incredulous, "but I've tried to kiss you a few times and if you're blind enough not to notice that, I'm guessing you are blind enough not to realise it means I like you."

My jaw drops; he likes me, he likes me? No, he can't be meaning it exclusively.

"Oh, what," I snort right back at him, eyes narrowing and lips pressing together, "is that supposed to mean anything because last I recall, you like a lot of girls. Or do you just invite all of those girls over to your house in friendship?"

"For God's sake, why do you think I invite them over in twos?" He demands, throwing his hands up in the air and leaning down to look me right in the eye, grabbing my shoulders. "I am trying to find someone, other than you, that I like – if I invite them over individually it's like asking them out on a date, but this way I get to know them."

"Why do you need to find someone else to like?" I want to know, feeling more than a little bit hurt despite myself.

"Because despite how many girls I invite over – you never tell me to stop, you just try to destroy every attempt I make at finding someone else, you don't have the balls to admit why you're really doing it." He points out, shaking me a little. "You just get petty, and mad, and if the girls are determined to stay with me anyway, you throw a tantrum."

"I do not throw tantrums," I protest, yelling at him and kicking him in the shins, "and let go of me, you jerk, you're hurting my shoulders."

"You threw your shoe at one of them," he laughs, though not sounding very amused about it, "is that not overreacting a little bit?"

"She called me a whore," I protest.

"You called her one first," he reminds me, before dropping his hands off of my shoulders and stepping back. "But you know what? Merry Christmas, let's forget about this and just enjoy the rest of the day."

He throws up his hands, looking kind of frustrated with me, "I'm sorry for bothering you."

Turning, he starts to make his way back over to the front door. I feel my heart squeeze and I swallow, trying not to let myself get upset over this. It's just stupid Comet, the guy next door who is…who is funny, and sweet when he wants to be and cute and – great at cutting out paper, and though his lips only touched mine for a second, a great kisser.

But that's not even the best part. The best part is that I have more fun with him than I do with anyone else and…and I'm letting him walk back inside, back to my cousins who will gladly offer their hearts out to him on a silver platter.

"Comet," I say quietly, so quietly I'm afraid he won't even hear it, "Comet I have a present for you."

He stops just as he's reaching for the door handle, and turns his head, "Yes?"

Sucking up my embarrassment, I walk over to him, arms swinging stiffly at my sides and heart speeding up to a mile a minute. I stop in front of him and look him in the eyes, finding myself incapable of moving properly once more and feeling frustrated because of it. I need to do this. Somehow I need to do this.

"Look, flying raccoon suit Mario," I point over his shoulder and he looks away from me, giving me time to grab him by the collar and step up on my tip toes – and kiss him.

At first he doesn't kiss back, freezing from the shock of it, and then he wraps his arms around my waist and bites down on my bottom lip. I close my eyes and feel them rolling back into my head; kissing him is like kissing a man made of fairy floss, completely heavenly.

He tastes like peppermint because of all the candy canes I've been feeding him, and he smells like the pine tree in the lounge. It's all completely, and totally, perfect. It's like the Christmas spirit has taken over his body and is radiating out joy from his tongue.

I fall limp against him when he drags his lips away from mine and his hands tighten around my waist to keep me from falling over.

"Whew," I breathe into his chest, and turn bright red when I see a little figure through the screen door, clapping at me. Alex.

Only he doesn't seem to be clapping at just me. Looking around, I spot near the trees, my little brother pressing his lips to Madeline Winter's; and she looks like she's liking it. I guess he found out what she'd written about him in that diary.

"Oh my God, they're eleven, they shouldn't even know what kissing is," Comet groans into my hair, running his hands through it, "and that was a dirty trick, using something like that do distract me. Does this mean we're like, going out?"

"No," I lie, stroking his chest with my fingertips, "I think I've just had a little too much of Christmas spirit today. It's making me want to do things I don't want to do. I was just kissing you out of pity."

"Can you kiss me again out of pity?" He wants to know.

"I think I've got some still left in me." I tug on his collar and he smirks, dragging my head back to his and capturing my lips for the second time that night.


I know this isn't perfect – I know, I KNOW. But I really don't have the time to be editing this as I'm going away for two weeks tonight and I haven't packed anything because I've been drawing pictures for people, and trying to get this done! I couldn't leave you without the story I promised but I am truly sorry it isn't as good as I want it to be.

But I hope it's enough! So merry Christmas, enjoy the last moments of it if where you are is still Christmas – and HAPPY HOLIDAYS! I hope you have a great new years eve and get a great start to 2010.


(and if it's any consolation I am sorry I can't update, because the reason I can't is because I have no internet where I'm going and this makes me deeply sad)