Monday, January 10, 2011

144. Present

“Hey, can you look at the laptop on the table and tell me what gate Cayden is supposed to land at? I can’t find him.”

I’d usually rely on my Palm Pre for this kind of info, but I’d dropped my phone a few days earlier and cracked the screen in the very corner. That one tiny crack rendered my entire touchscreen phone useless. All I could do was slide my phone open to answer calls, but I couldn’t text, tweet, or access my email or the Internet. Needless to say, I was freaking out. Luckily, I could still dial a number into my keypad if I had it memorized and hit enter to place a call.

“It says E9,” Meg said on the other end of the phone.

I looked around to see where I’d ended up. I looked left and saw the baggage carousel for E7. How had I missed E9?

“Do you see him?” Meg asked.

I couldn’t answer because just then the door to my right swung open, and Cayden was the first one to step through, He caught my eyes immediately and I nearly dropped my phone…again.

“Whitney? Can you hear me? Did you find him?” I could hear Meg’s voice on the other end, but nothing was registering. It was Christmas Eve, and Cayden was really here.

He was walking straight toward me with his long strides, a huge smile on his face. I realized I wasn’t moving. I was just standing there like an idiot with my broken phone to my ear, smiling just as big.

“Got him!” I said, slamming my phone shut, even though I knew that wouldn’t end the call. The call wouldn’t end until Meg hung up. I didn’t care.

I shoved my phone in my pocket and reached up just in time to wrap my arms around Cayden’s neck as he pulled my hips against his and sprinkled my lips, cheeks, and nose with a thousand tiny kisses. They were the kisses I’d been waiting for, craving.

I laughed and pulled away from him, wrapped my arm around his and looked up at him.

“You’re here,” I said.

“I’m here.”

There was a lot of anxiety leading up to his flight here. One awful snowstorm shut down the airport in London a week before his flight. Flights were canceled and rescheduled, and a lot of people were told they wouldn’t get to leave London until the 26th. I had to prepare myself for that. I had to prepare for a Christmas without Cayden.

But all the stars had aligned, and Cayden was here, in Texas, on Christmas Eve.

“I brought a little something for your family,” he said, yanking his oversized ‘carry all’ (That’s British for duffle bag) off the carousel.

“Well, I hope you brought me a little something, too,” I said, shouldering his backback so he could manhandle the duffle.

“Well, I don’t think they’d let me through customs with Ben’s Cookies.”

At the mention of Ben’s Cookies, I could taste them melting in my mouth, filling my nose with the warm, comforting scent of milk chocolate. I was suddenly craving a cold glass of milk.

“But I did bring chocolate. A huge Cadbury milk chocolate bar. It’s the biggest chocolate bar I’ve ever seen. And I brought crumpets. And minced pies. And Percy Pigs.”

Even if those were the only things he’d brought, I’d be the happiest girl in the world. But they weren’t. Wrapped in crisp silver Christmas paper, nestled in his carryall and padded between his sox and his shirts, were two boxes. Two small boxes just for me.


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