AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Annalisa Nicole
A Christmas Miracle by Chance
A Short Story by Annalisa Nicole
Copyright © 2015 by Annalisa Nicole
This short story is a written act of fiction. Any and all names, places, or similarities are coincidental. No part of this book may be used, reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any electronic or written form without written permission except for brief quotations in reviews or blogs. This book may only be distributed by Annalisa Nicole, the owner and author of this series.
Never in my life have I done something so stupid. To get straight to the point, I slept with a coworker. Not only did I sleep with Jude, but it’s been going on since by best friend, Shay Wellington, left the firm a few years ago. It’s been nothing but chaos at work since she left SA Architects, when she and her husband, Adrian, adopted their two adorable children, Micah and Makayla. I only say they are adorable, because they’re not mine, thank God. Not that her kids are ugly, or bratty, or anything, kids have just never been my thing and aren’t in my future…ever.
I love my career and I can’t imagine doing anything else. To my mother’s complete horrification, I keep telling her she’s just not getting any grandkids from me. I seriously thought Shay was exactly like me and she was going to take a few months off, then come back to work, but then she got pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic for them.
Shay and Adrian were high school sweethearts ripped apart by misfortune and misunderstanding. Fate was on their side, though and destiny reunited them after not speaking to each other for seventeen years. After they got married, for the second time, they tried unsuccessfully to get pregnant. Unlike myself, they knew they wanted to build a family, so they adopted. I guess, maybe, all the pressure was off and to their delight, Shay got pregnant with their son, Sammy.
Motherhood has completely transformed Shay. She loves being a stay-at-home mom and I’m so happy for her. She told our boss, Stewart, she’s never coming back to work. To this day, Shay’s office is just the way she left it. Stewart refuses to believe that an architect of Shay’s caliber can be happy the rest of her life, without working and doing what she loves. But, what he doesn’t understand is, that she is doing just that.
Jude, too, is obsessed with his work and has no interest in dating, getting married, or having children. I think that’s what attracted me to him in the first place. No strings, no attachment, no pressure. It was just hot, casual, earth shattering, kinky sex that was a one-time thing in a moment of weakness.
I don’t need a man.
I never have.
I have my battery operated friend, Steve, in my side table drawer. He and I go way back together. He never disappoints me or asks me to do anything for him in return. He doesn’t talk, except for his quiet hum, and when I’m done with him there’s no awkward silence afterward…should I stay, or should I go? He just goes straight back in my drawer. The best part about Steve is, he isn’t needy. If I don’t take him out for two or three days, he doesn’t care. On the flip side, he can also perform multiple times a day if needed.
The problem with Jude is, our hot, casual, earth shattering, kinky, one-time sex turned into an obsession and something I found myself thinking about non-stop during working hours. At five o’clock when the employees started leaving, so did articles of my clothing. Jude and I were like feral cats and we pounced on each other the second the last employee was in the parking lot. Afterward, we got dressed, then we each went our separate ways…until five o’clock the following evening. The only question was, your office or mine.
Two months ago Jude took a new job in Boston, at a very prestigious architect firm. That afternoon before he left, he called me up and wanted one last kink session. Instead, when he got to my office, I broke the news to him. He didn’t even flinch. He looked me in the eye and said he didn’t want any part of it, that it was my problem. He offered to do his share, by taking out a few hundred dollars out of his wallet. He then tossed it on my desk, so I could ‘take care of my problem.’ I didn’t even know what to say, so I didn’t say anything as I watched him turn his back to me and leave. I haven’t heard from him since and, honestly, I don’t ever want to. I could never just take care of the problem, but I know I don’t want to be a mother. So, I went into denial mode and I’ve just ignored it. Oh, I go to all my appointments and religiously take my vitamins, but I’ve stayed disconnected.
I miss Shay, now that I don’t get to see her every day at work. She sort of breezed into my life like a breath of fresh air and we had been inseparable since her first day at the firm. Now it just seems like it’s missing something, it feels like the heart of the company is just gone. Selfishly, I sort of blame her for my being weak and sleeping with Jude in the first place. If she were here, I know for a fact I never would have slept with Jude. She’s been busy with family for the holidays and I haven’t seen her in months.
It’s late in the evening on Christmas day and I miss her. Above all that, I need her friendship right now. One of the Wellington clan, Chloe, gave birth to a baby very early this morning and I know they’ve all had a really long day. The entire family always gets together on Christmas morning for their Christmas exchange, but I’ve circled the block every hour on the hour, for the past five hours, waiting for their car to return in their driveway.
This latest loop, they’ve finally returned, but instead of pulling in the driveway, I drive off and head to the grocery store. I can’t show up empty-handed. I grab a bottle of wine, a plastic container of gaudy sugar cookies, a fully cooked turkey… why a turkey? I don’t know. When I get to the register, my cart is half way full of things I don’t want and they most likely don’t need.
I shove everything in my trunk and drive back to their house. I pull my car up next to theirs and shut off the engine. I grip onto the steering wheel and bury my head in my arms. This is not how my life is supposed to be. I’m a life-long career woman and I love my independence. I take a deep breath, get out, then grab the groceries out of the trunk. Call me crazy, but everything in my life is made into a challenging game, and these eleven plastic grocery bags are no different. They will make it into their house in one trip, even if I have to wrap one around my neck. I load up my arms, quickly walk to their door, and ring the doorbell with my elbow.
Shay opens the door, looking as beautiful as ever. It’s not just the kind of beautiful that’s skin deep, her beauty exudes from deep within and radiates all around her.
“Mia!” she screams, then lunges toward me and wraps her arms around my neck. She pulls away when she realizes I’m struggling with the fifty pounds of groceries. “Give me some of those,” she says, then takes a few bags and goes into the house.
I continue to stand at the door, with the remaining bags in my hand, completely numb inside and out. A huge lump builds in my throat and my eyes fill with tears.
I’m not a crier.
I’ve been punched in the face in a drunken bar fight before and I laughed at the chick. I broke my leg skiing and even that didn’t make me cry.
“What are you doing? Come in, it’s freezing out there,” she says, walking back to the door.
I can’t hold the heavy bags in my hands any longer and they slip down my arms to my wrists. Shay’s eyes immediately go to my belly. My very pregnant, about to pop in less than a week, pregnant belly.
I drop the bags on the ground, then bury my face in my hands as the pent up tears break free. I didn’t start showing until my seventh month of pregnancy, but even at that, I wear big sweaters and not a single soul knows, well except for my doctor and, of course, loser baby daddy, Jude.
“Oh, Mia,” she says, wrapping her arms around me again. “Adrian, can you come get these bags please?” she shouts into the house, then urges me inside.
I can’t even look at Adrian as he passes me, but I feel his eyes on me.
“I’ve got them, Doll,” he whispers to Shay, grabs the bags and closes the door.
I hear him go into the kitchen, then he quietly starts to put the groceries away. Shay sits me on the couch and wraps her arms around me. She holds me while I cry and, thank God, she doesn’t say a word to me.
After twenty minutes of cathartic, soul cleansing tears, I lift my head from my hands and look at her. Her eyes aren’t filled with judgment or pity, they’re filled with friendship and love.
“I made a mistake,” I tell her.
“I’m here for you, whatever you need,” she replies.
I look down to my stubby, bitten fingernails and I sigh.
“What is it?” she asks, rubbing her hand on my shoulder.
“I can’t keep this baby,” I tell her truthfully.
I felt her distress the second I wrapped my arms around her in the doorway. I’ve never seen Mia like this. She’s always so determined and sure of herself. Nothing ever rattles her.
Her silence right now speaks volumes.
“I can’t keep this baby,” she says, running her hand up and down her lower back.
The second her words are out of her mouth, my mind immediately goes to work. It’s like a bright light just went off and every single detail over the past nine months just fell into perfect place.
My sister-in-law, Ava, is married to an amazing man, Jax. He has two daughters, Sky and Hope, who Ava adores. Before they were married, Ava was shot, which left her unable to bear children. Over the past year, even though she’s extremely happy with her new family, she misses not having a baby of her own.
Last week, in private, she broke down and shared with me just how much she feels broken inside, not just literally, but physically. She feels selfish because she’s been given the blessing of Jax’s two daughters, but at the same time, she wants to experience raising a baby with Jax.
Ava and I share the unbelievable joy of having adopted children, but I wholeheartedly understand what she’s going through. I told her she wasn’t being selfish. I know I can’t comprehend her situation, that it’s completely different than mine, but months ago I, too, felt broken when Adrian and I weren’t getting pregnant. I thought for sure I was just too old. I understand just what she’s feeling.
“Ow,” Mia says, grabbing her back again.
“What is it?” I ask, nervous.
“My back, it’s killing,” she says, then hunches over. “Oh, God,” she says.
“What?” I ask.
“My water just broke,” she says. “Oh my God, I’m so sorry about your couch,” she says, looking at me with tears in her eyes.
“Don’t worry about that! Let’s get you to the hospital,” I tell her.
“NO!” she shouts.
“Honey, we have to get you to a hospital,” I urge.
“No! I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this! I don’t want it!” she cries.
“You may not be ready, but this baby is definitely ready,” I say.
“You don’t understand. Shay, I’m dead serious, I don’t want this,” she says, then sinks to the floor.
She grabs her belly as a contraction hits, then she starts to hyperventilate.
“Adrian, get in here!” I shout. “Help me get her in the car,” I shout toward the kitchen.
Adrian comes running in the family room and immediately his face is splashed with terror.
“NO! I’m not doing this! Just take me home. This is a mistake,” Mia yells.
I get down on the floor with her and I put my hands on her knees.
“It’s alright. I’m here. Take a deep breath,” I say in a calm, reassuring voice. “Adrian, go start the car,” I tell him.
Adrian rushes out of the house, then she looks into my eyes and I see utter fear.
“This isn’t a mistake,” I assure her. “We’re going to get through this together. Mia, honey, have you considered giving the baby up for adoption?” I ask.
“It’s too late for that,” she says in pain.
“It’s never too late. What if I told you this baby’s parents have been waiting their whole life for this moment,” I say.
“What?” she asks, in a calmer voice.
“This is going to sound crazy, but I know who this baby’s parents are meant to be.”
“Who?” she asks.
“Ava and Jax,” I tell her as another contraction hits.
She breathes through it, then Adrian comes back into the house.
“Let’s get you up and to the hospital,” he says, helping her off the floor.
He helps her outside, then into the passenger seat. He walks me to the drivers seat and squeezes my hand.
“I’ll get someone to come over and watch the kids, then I’ll be right there,” he says, then kisses me and closes the door.
Mia is a trooper the entire way to the hospital. Once inside, she’s immediately registered and taken to a room.
“Mia, I have to ask. Are you sure about this? You…”
“I’m positive,” she interrupts. “Call Ava and Jax,” she finishes.
I nod my head at her.
“I’ll be just outside the door. If you need me just scream and I’ll run back in,” I tell her, then go out into the hallway.
How do you make this call? I’m scared out of my ever-loving mind. I know how Ava feels and I know what she wants, but what about Jax? Is this something they’ve discussed or even want as a family?
I dial Ava’s number and hold my breath.
“Hi, Shay. What’s up?” Ava answers.
“Ava,” is all I can say.
“Shay, what’s wrong?” she asks scared.
I don’t know what to say. I can’t even begin to think of the proper words to say to something so huge.
“Do you remember my friend, Mia?” I finally ask.
“Yes, of course. I wanted to rip her hair out of her head on our pond, ice skating when you ran into Adrian. It’s not a moment I’m proud of, but yes, I remember her. Why?” she answers.
“She has a gift for you?” I say.
“She does? That’s kind of weird. I can pick it up tomorrow, I guess,” she says.
“It’s not that kind of gift. Do you remember our conversation last week?” I reply.
Ava goes quiet on the other end, then quietly she answers, “Yes. I do.”
“I firmly believe nothing ever happens that’s not meant to be. There’s always a reason. You’re dad said it best, ‘We have no control over destiny. It’s been written in the stars, each and every member of this family. We cannot see each star yet, but we welcome each and every one of them with love and open arms. A family is not limited to the blood that runs through their veins, but by the love that invisibly flows and binds each and every member.’ Mia has a very special gift for you,” I say.
“Shay, what are you saying?” she asks in a shaky voice.
“Honey, I know that I’m springing this on you, but you need to talk to Jax, then you two need to get down to the hospital,” I urge.
The line again does dead silent, then I hear crying. Then there’s a muffled scuffing sound.
“We’re on our way,” Jax says, then hangs up.
“Shay!” Mia yells from inside the room.
I turn around and rush to her side, then take her hand. Her worried, terrified face comes to mine and just by her nervous questioning look, I know what she’s asking. I nod my head yes, with tears in my eyes and a smile. She breathes a sigh of relief and calmness washes over her. Now with a clear head, instinct and determination take over.
With each contraction Mia’s confidence builds. In less than fifteen minutes Ava and Jax rush into the room. Ava, Jax, and Mia, don’t really know each other except for a few passing moments on the pond and at my mother's funeral. Ava looks terrified as she takes a step into the room. Her eyes are glazed and she has a death grip on Jax’s hand. Mia extends her hand to Ava, then she rushes over to her. Mia wraps her arms around her, then starts to have another contraction.
I stay close to Mia, but let Ava and Jax take the lead. This experience will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Adrian taps my shoulder, then kisses me on the cheek.
“I’ll be in the waiting room if you need me,” he says.
God, I love this man.
After hours of slow going, everything starts progressing quickly and soon a doctor is at the foot of Mia’s bed. With a few last pushes, and only ten minutes left in Christmas Day, another Christmas miracle is born.
“It’s a boy,” the doctor says. “Should I cut the cord?” the doctor asks.
“Jax,” Mia says with a nod.
Jax runs his hands down his shirt and takes a large, nervous swallow. He was never home to witness the birth of his girls. He was thousands of miles away, serving and protecting our country. On so many levels, this day has to be something neither one of them ever imagined possible. He looks to Ava and she nods at him with tears in her eyes and a huge smile on her face.
Jax is ex-military and one of the biggest, bulkiest men I’ve ever met, but as the baby is being cleaned and wrapped in a warm blanket, tears stream down his face.
A nurse picks up the baby, then looks around unsure of who to give him to.
“Ava,” Mia says with a warm smile.
The nurse places him in Ava’s arms and instantly her heart falls in love with him. I take Mia’s hand and she looks at me with a proud smile.
“What will you name him?” Mia asks.
Ava and Jax lock eyes and in unison they say, “Jaxon.”
Sometimes Christmas miracles are years and months in the making. I can’t help but think when I ran into Adrian again after seventeen years, destiny had so much more planned that was beyond comprehension. It sparked something so far down the line, so amazing, that no one saw it coming.
“Do you want to hold him?” Ava asks Mia.
She smiles and nods her head yes. Ava places her in her arms, then Mia gives him a kiss on the forehead.
“I didn’t know it, but Jaxon, I do love you. You’re mommy and daddy are amazing people and I just know you’re going to have the most wonderful life,” she says with tears in her eyes.
She hands Jaxon back to Ava, wipes her tears, then watches with a smile as Jax and Ava love their new son.
Ava gently places Jaxon in Jax’s arms, then walks next to Mia at her bedside. She takes her hand in hers, then places it over her heart.
“Thank you,” she whispers.
“Thank you,” Mia whispers back.
Adrian walks back into the room and takes my hand. This family is known for their great love, not only to actual family members, but to extended family members. Mia is now one of those members. Jaxon will be loved tremendously.
Christmas is the time for miracles, the celebration of life, and family. Sometimes mistakes are made, but sometimes they end up turning into so much more than anyone ever thought possible.
Edited by: Alissa Glenn
I am an “Indie” contemporary romance author. I live in California with my husband and two teenage boys. I love being a stay at home mom. My husband and I enjoy wine tasting and camping with our kids with our four wheelers in the middle of nowhere, where you can find me with my pink Ryder BB gun! We have a handful of pets, a dog named Lucy (who is in my books) and a guinea pig named Flufy (my son spelled her name that way) and a cat who adopted us many years ago and has never left. She is a spoiled outdoor cat with her own two story house and a heated bed.
I never liked reading as a kid. I only started reading romance novels in the past few years. My Kindle and I are inseparable now. A thought occurred to me in December of 2012 that maybe I could write a romance novel. So I went to work with the encouragement of my husband and my sister-in-law. It didn’t take long to figure out that I really enjoyed writing.
Today I am a self published author and it has been an amazing journey.
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Take A Chance (Running into Love #1): http://amzn.to/1HZ8wIM
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Unavoidable Chance (Running into Love #5): http://amzn.to/1HZ969p
Unexpected Chance (Running into Love #6): http://amzn.to/1YhILrc
A Very Wellington Christmas (A Running into Love Novella):
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I See...Love (A Different Road #1): http://amzn.to/1HZ9GE9
1. If money was no object what would take out the number one spot on your Christmas list?
Right now if money were no object, I’d have to say putting my kids through college. One will be starting next year and the other two years after that. Other than that, for me and my hubby, to travel the world.
2. What was the first book you read that made you think “wow this is what I want to do, I want to be an author”?
50 Shades of Grey. Honestly, I didn’t like to read before that. 50 Shades had just gone viral, so I picked it up to see what everyone was going crazy over. After that, I couldn’t get enough contemporary romance to read. I was talking to my sister-in-law about them and she said, “You should write a book.” That sat with me for a few months. I had no clue where to go from there. I didn’t know what “Indie” publishing was or anything about the industry. I found out about Amazon’s Breakthrough Author Contest and I entered. I didn’t make it, but that opened me up to independent publishing. I didn’t know what a blog was, a single author, or anyone book related. I use a pen name and I set my debut novel free without telling anyone except my husband and my sister-in-law. I was petrified of failing! Along the way though, in the fantastic journey, I’ve met so many amazing authors, readers and bloggers! Over two years later, I’m still loving every minute of it!
3. What does Christmas mean for you?
Family. Growing up, Christmas was always the one time of year my parents weren’t frugal. They always went all out and those memories have always stuck with me.
4. What’s your guilty pleasure, the one thing you hate admitting out loud?
I don’t think it’s a secret…but my love of all things candy. Mike & Ike, Gummy Life Savers, Jelly Beans and such. I can’t resist.
5. What’s next for you in terms of writing?