(advent) December 22 – The Snow Queen’s Ball!

Molly smoothed the front of her dress and picked up her evening bag. Turning to Schrodinger, she said, “Well, what do you think?”

I think you look beautiful, Schrodinger said. Drew won’t be able to keep his eyes off you.

“If he’s there, you mean.” But she smiled and turned back to the mirror one last time. Unlike last year, this year she’d chosen a slim sheath dress of dark blue that ended just above her knees, and dark blue shoes. The dress curved up over one shoulder, and left the other one bare. Drew’s snowflakes hung from her ears and nestled between her breasts, glittering in the lights of the mini Christmas tree on the table. She and the Trio had gone out that morning to have their hair and nails done; the result was a sleek up-do that left a fall of curls trailing down the left side of her neck. “I hope he is.”

There was a beep from the street; Molly leaned over and peeked out the window. Lai’s Range Rover was parked out in front of the building. “They’re here!” she said, dropping the curtain. “Are you ready?”

Yes. Don’t forget your coat. Schrodinger swiped a paw across his whiskers and jumped down. Molly had to admit he looked very dapper in his bow tie.

“Hardly. This dress is pretty but not very warm.” Molly went over to the closet. “Luckily, Aunt Margie let me borrow her mink.”

The full-length fur coat fitted her perfectly, just like her aunt had promised. Feeling a bit like an old-time movie star, Molly hurried down the stairs, Schrodinger on her heels.

“Wow, you look fabulous!” Lai said, as they slid into the car. “Where did you get that coat?”

“It’s Aunt Margie’s, and if I get anything on it, I’ll be killed,” Molly said, clicking her seatbelt in place.

“Darn.” Lai chuckled. “Ah well.” She looked in the rear-view mirror. “You all set back there?”

Ready to go!

“Then we’re off!” Lai threw the Rover into gear and they headed out to the snow.

It wasn’t hard to find. There was a line of cars headed out to the Snow Queen’s Ball – Lai fell in behind a large limo. “You ready for this?” she asked.

“Of course.” Molly flipped down the mirror and checked her makeup one last time. “Do you really think he’s going to ask her?”

“That’s the rumor. And I heard he’s going to ask the Snow Queen’s blessing, too.” Lai stepped on the gas as the line moved up a bit.

“That will be awesome.” Molly flipped the mirror back up.

“It will be even more awesome if she lets Drew show up.” Lai glanced over at her. “Any news?”

Molly shook her head.

“Well, hopefully she lets him come.”

They didn’t talk more until they got to the clearing. Lai parked the car and they stepped into the night snow.

Schrodinger jumped down, and then stiffened. Do you smell that?

“Smell what?” Molly sniffed the air.

It’s snow.

“It’s winter,” Lai said. “And it’s been snowing off and on for the last two days.”

Not like this, Schrodinger said. He looked up at Molly. This smells like him.

Him. “Old Man Winter?”

Yes.

“Then let’s go!” Molly hurried towards the clearing, both Schrodinger and Lai hot on her heels.

They dropped their coats off with the valet and then entered the clearing. As always, it was like entering a fantasy winter world, one where snow fell but the temperature was that of a warm spring day. Molly looked around, hoping to spot either Drew or Old Man Winter.

She didn’t see either of them, but she did spot the Snow Queen, sitting on her throne and watching the dancers. There was already music playing, and people were out on the dance floor.

“Can you find him?” she asked Schrodinger.

If I can’t, I’ll turn in my nose. He was off before he finished the sentence.

“Come on.” Lai took Molly’s arm. “Let’s go find Noemi and Sue.”

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“Come on, boy! I swear, you take longer than a woman to get ready!”

Drew rolled his eyes and finished tying his tie. “I’m almost ready.”

“The ball will be over before we even get there!” Old Man Winter snapped.

“Hardly.” Drew ran his hands through his hair once more, and then grabbed his bag. Funny how little he actually had with him. “All right,” he said. “I’m ready.”

“About time,” Old Man Winter grumbled.

“Hey, I haven’t seen Molly in a month!” Drew said. “You can’t blame me for wanting to look good. Besides,” and he gave the old man a look, “I see you took some pains in how you look too.”

“And it didn’t take me three hours.” Old Man Winter took a hold of Drew’s arm. “Hold on.”

Snow swirled around them, blinding Drew momentarily. When he was able to see again, he realized two things.

One was that he was warm again. Almost too warm.

The second was that he was surrounded by people.

The music faltered and died as he straightened up. Everyone had taken a few steps back, probably unnerved by Old Man Winter’s entrance. Drew shook the last few flakes of snow from his head, and then he saw her.

Molly and Lai stood together, both looking at him, eyes wide and mouths open. The dark blue satin dress hugged every curve, and the blue heels added inches to her height. She looked sleek, sophisticated, and utterly perfect. He dropped his bag and pushed through the crowd to her.

Folks melted out of the way: all Drew could see was Molly, standing in a pool of white light, snowflakes sparkling on her ears and around her neck. Then she was in his arms, and her lips met his.

“You made it,” she whispered, her eyes bright, once the kiss broke.

“I promised I would,” he said, and kissed her again.

Then she pulled back, fear on her face. “Are you leaving again?”

“No.” Drew pulled her back into his arms, and rested his chin on the top of her head. “No, I’m back to stay.”

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