Authors: Lisa Page
A Christmas Story
Copyright © 2012 Lisa Page.
All rights reserved.
an tucked a strand of pale
blond hair behind her ear as she blew on her
a. She was sitting
at a little table in the corner
of the Sit-n-Sip coffee shop
watching people come in from the snowy street
a warm beverage to ward off
nice to be back in her hometown of
to see her family again and sh
e did love Christmas, though the length of her holiday break from college
was just about how long she could stand it
thought of herself as a city girl.
e loved the action that big cities were immersed in
. Being in Chicago
showed her just how much she had been
missing in this boring town. All the shopping
on Michigan Avenue
, the fun night life and the many opportunities for a vocal performance major were
not to be found in
As she sipped her tea, her eyes caught a glimps
a man outside on the sidewalk. A man
walking with a spring in his step, who
made her take a second look. Even underneath his winter jacket, she could tell
he was broad-shouldered and muscular.
He had dark hair,
but she could tell that it held a natural wave.
She was hoping he’d turn off the sidewalk and into the coffee shop so she could get a better look. And she smiled to herself when he did just that.
was looking up.
He walked in the door and rubbed his hands together, trying to warm them as
he made his way
to the front of the line.
the barista a friendly greeting and then his order. There was
something about his voice sounded vaguely familiar
After getting his large cup of coffee to go,
he looked around the shop
turned to walk
. His eyes stopped to rest on El
he gave her a warm
smile. Suddenly there was
a spark of recognition
in his eyes
She blinked and set down her tea.
She wondered how she didn’t recognize him before then.
stranger was someone she knew!
“Luke Williams! It’s been a long time!” She smiled back at him as he walked over to her table.
Luke was a couple years older than her. They had met whil
e performing in the high school musical together
She remembered what an amazing voice he had
and how cute he had been, too, even back then
. He was an inspiration to her when he left to study in New York on a vocal talent scholarship
he really made it big by landing a role
in a Broadway show
. He was probably one of the last people she’d expected to see back in town.
He was even bet
ter looking than she remembered;
time had been kind to him.
She watched as he looked her over and wondered if he was surprised at how much she had changed since they’d last seen each other. She was still short and petite, that much hadn’t changed, but t
he last time he’d seen her she had
been a ponytailed 15 year old with braces. Definitely not her most attractive phase, but three years of braces had been worth it for the smile that it gave her. She was often told that it was her best feature.
Wow, look at you, you
’re all grown up!” h
e said as he pulled out a chair and sat down next to her
. He smelled of cold
r and spicy men’s cologne
you’re not that much older than me, you know.”
She saw his mouth curve up into a smile that made her heart beat a little faster.
Well I think you’ve changed a lot more than I have.
What have you b
een up to? Do you live in town?”
Are you kidding me
” she laughed.
back for Christmas break. It’s my last year at Northwestern.
nd what are you doing back here?
I thought you were a big Broadway sta
Are you visiting family?”
He grinned sheepishly an
d shrugged. “Nah, it was a f
but my Broadway days are behind me
. I moved back here this year to take a job as a music teacher at the high school.”
Now it wa
s Ellie’s turn to feel
wondered if her comment had seemed too condescending. She was s
hocked to find out
that he had moved back.
“Wow! You gave up fame and fortune for dealing with
high school kids every day?”
Fame isn’t all it’s crac
ked up to be.
a cutthroat world out there, very
competitive and it just wasn’t ….rewarding, I guess. I had dreamed of making it big all my life but when it finally happened, it was like
something was still missing.”
just stared at him as if he were
talking another language. Making it big had been her dream, too, ever since she was a little girl. Singing to
performance halls, tourin
g the globe, living the lifestyle of the rich and famous
and becoming a household name-
these were the things that were important to her.
“What do you mean, what was missing?”
“Well, I wasn’t even sure myself at first. But I started volunteering with a program that mentors to high risk kid
was an eye-opening experience. I worked with kids who had nothing,
just living on the streets. They
were truly lost souls, and using music to connect to them and give them something pos
itive in their lives was
the best thing I’d done in my life.”
He stopped for a minute to sip his coffee and she could tell by the look on his face that he was remembering back to that experience.
ad obviously been a moving one
“Teaching music gave me the chance to really make a difference in people’s lives. It was incredibl
y rewarding and I knew that it was
how I wanted to spend my life.
I already had a music degree so I just took night classes to get my teaching certificate.
would have loved to have had you as a teacher,” Ellie said with a twinkle in her
. “I bet
our female students have crushes
He laughed and she thought it looked like he was blushing
, but she couldn’t be sure
. “I don’t know about that, but I have to tell you, running the school music
al is a lot harder than we
when we were kids
“Well, I for one, hope to never find out,” Ellie said. “I plan to always be
the stage and no
t behind it. I think I was born with stars in my eyes. Besides, I know I’d never have the patience to be a teacher.
Kids annoy me.
“Sometimes, I’m not sure where I find
,” he said, “b
ut I enjoy it
and I’m glad that I went for it
, it was the best decision I’ve made
. I know teaching’s not for everyone, but I bet even you would really enjoy being a mentor. You have so much drive and
you’d be an inspiration to kids. In fact…” The way he looked at her told her that an idea was forming in
Please don’t let it be anything to do with kids
, she thought to
I have just the place in mind.”
In mind for what?”
“I run a
program at St. Andrew’s church over on the other side of town, next to
the Lincoln Terrace development.”
Her blank stare told him she didn’t know what he was talking about.
“It’s a low-income housing area
, full of
don’t have a lot of
positive adult guidance in their lives
. The program I run is a
choir, but it’s really more than that.
They know that I’m there for them, that I have their back. If they are struggling at school, with friends, with family issues, they know they can come to me.
I help them with their homework, bring food for them to eat and
We usually meet twice a week and then sing at one church service a month. But because school is on winter break, we’re meeting every day this week to prepare for the
Christmas Eve service.”
“And what exactly does this have to do with me?”
“I’m getting there, hold on. How about a friendly wager? You stop by our practice tomorrow and after one day with
the kids. I’m betting it will change your mind about kids. I think you’ll have a blast.
. Just w
hat are we wagering?”
“If you win, I’ll buy you a latte or whatever it is you’re drinking.”
“That would be
tea with honey and lemon.” She touched her throat and added, “I have the most pampered vocal chords you’ll ever meet.
I have to keep these babies in tip-top shape.
“So do we have a deal?”
She shook his hand as she said,
we have a deal,
I’ll go. I’m done with my Christmas shopping and have a free day tomorrow.
“Great! St. Andrew’
s church, be there at three
. See you
As she watched him walk out, she wondered what she was getting herself into. But knowing that she’d get
to spend the afternoon with Luke
, she didn’t really care.