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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.


The darkness was closing in all around her. The small candle she held onto flickered dimly trying to fight back the darkness. Her breathing was labored the darkness was pulling away the air. She clutched for it like she could hold onto the air. The candle went out and she was alone. The darkness was swallowing her up. She could she her body disappearing as the darkness swallowed her. She was all alone no one could save her.


Carla bolted upright in her bed her t-shirt clinged to her drenched with sweat. It was only a dream though it seemed that it was really happening maybe it was a prelude to what would become of her. The thought made her shiver to feel more alone than she did now. It might as well have been a death sentence with how she felt. Normally but dreaming or not she was up now so might as well start her day. Looking at the clock it was 7 a.m just an hour before I have to leave for work.


She walked through her small apartment and watered the few potted plants and put out a bowl of food for the cat that hung around the apartment complex. Her apartment was big enough for two but Carla never found anyone she would want to live with. She pulled on her clothes and stepped out into the morning sun. she pulled on her sunglasses fake coach brand but could pass for real. She started up her car and pulled out of the complex heading into the city. Not really the biggest of cities a relatively small city that was spread out all the main things one could need were in the city center. Most people referred to it as the circle.


She parked her car behind the Hallmark and grabbed her apron from the back seat she tied it around her waist as she walked into the store the manager was already there and was setting out the signs for the Christmas sale. Carla looked at the signs with distaste she found them to be extremely tacky. Though she wasn't too much fond of the whole holiday season in the first place. All the glee and cheer was just to sweet to her. And the couples that came in all lovey dovey and chipper. It actually made her sick to her stomach to see it. But Carla liked her paycheck so she would grin and bear it trying to keep her cynical remarks to a minimum.


As she expected the day was full of couples that felt the need to tell her all about their Christmas plans with each other. And call their spouse by sickeningly sweet pet names. Carla was sure she would have diabetes by the end of the day with how much sweetens she had to ingest.


"oh miss which card do you think my girlfriend would like more?" a customer asked holding way to many different cards for one holiday.


"sir I don't know I'm not your girlfriend and I don't even know her so just pick a card so I can continue to be in a state of self induced mental absence" she said


the man looked at her slightly offended and walked away picking a card and going over to the other register. Her boss shot her a dirty look but Carla was already fed up with the day already. It dragged on longer until her shift was finally over. Thank god she only had a half shift today and wasn't going to be stuck there the whole day. Carla quickly left and drove to her house it was only 2 pm so she decided to walk to the cafe for lunch.


As she walked she past a few children who were talking about what they wanted for Christmas. She could overhear them talking about different material things. I thought to myself material goods what use were they they were only useful till something newer and shinier came out. It was at some point just like people you found someone new so you throw the old one aside like yesterdays bread.


Carla thought to herself what would she like for Christmas maybe love. That would be a interesting gift. Something you couldn't wrap but still came in a package. It would be nice not to spend the holidays alone maybe then she wouldn't be so jaded toward the idea of the holiday itself or towards any holidays that promoted sappy couples. Carla thought to herself about her friend who always just said she was sexually frustrated. But that wasn't it. Carla could get sex whenever she wanted there were too many ways to get it. Carla wouldn't say she did it just for the thrill of the random hookup. But at least during those fleeting moments she could say that some wanted her even if it was only for her body.


Carla knew she intimidated most guys they would get put off by her cynicism and coldness and run in the other direction. Eventually the guy that wouldn't be put off by that would come along that would be the gift she wanted the most. She walked into the cafe the waitress waved to her. They talked regularly since Carla came her at least twice a week. The waitress walked over to her and asked if she wanted the usual. Carla nodded as the waitress only wrote down Carla's order on the sheet and handed it to another cook.


"so how are you doing today" the waitress asked taking a seat across from Carla.


"now that I'm out of work a lot better you know I hate tons of Christmas cheer and sappy couples." Carla said smiling slightly.


The waitress laughed and smiled as she flicked her hair back and readjusted her knit cap.


"well you came to the right place not much cheer and couples here the most cheery thing we have is our cheery pie" she said messing up the word cherry to sound like cheer.


Carla shook her head at the bad pun as the waitress went to grab an order. She soon came back with a sandwich a bag of sun chips and a coffee. She set them down and went to tend to the other customers. Carla sat and chewed on her sandwich slowly taking in the familiar sights. She saw something out of place among the regulars a new guy. Sitting at the counter he glanced over at her and smirked then stood up. Carla sighed great another one that will walk up then instantly be put off.


"Hey I was going to ask if I could buy you a drink but I see that you already have ordered" He said a slight smile on his face


"don't get ahead of yourself you can still pay here's my bill" Carla said handing him the slip of paper calling his bluff.


"oh well then nice to see a girl that doesn't eat a cracker and air for lunch" he said putting his card down on the top of the bill slip.


"well I decided I liked eating so here I am" she said smirking this guy was so far doing good wonder how long he would stick around.


"well then since you like eating how about I take you to dinner" he said smirking again.


"how about we skip that and call this the first date" Carla said seeing how far he will take this.


"sounds good to me, so Carla is it?" he said looking at the order slip as the waitress came and picked it up shooting Carla a smile and a quick thumbs up.


"you got that right and your name is?" she asked becoming impressed with the guy.


"well I could tell you but wouldn't that take the fun out of playing a little guessing game" he said giving that mischievous smirk again.


"who ever said I like games" Carla said trying to stifle a laugh since she was actually enjoying this but not wanting him to notice


"you seem like the type of girl who likes to keep a guy on his toes" He said sitting back a satisfied smile on his face.


"oh you think you're good don't you" Carla said becoming even more impressed with his boldness and his personality.


"why should I think about what I already know" he said smiling slightly


"you may be good but I'm at the top" She said flipping her hair back.


"only there cause I feel like being under you" the guy said leaning back in his chair.


There was that smirk again it was cocky but not cocky to point of being annoying just to that point in that he was confident. He was good an equal match a quick wit and a sharp tongue something she could enjoy for more than a quick fling. Maybe she would see how far she could push this. She leaned in slightly and he did the same neither of them said anything they just kept leaning forward until their lips met. It was a short kiss but it was nice it told her all she needed to do he was bold and was not afraid to take a chance.


"so shall we move this to another location or should we part ways and set another time to get to know each other" he said sitting back like he only leaned forward to pick up a coffee cup.


They smiled at each other and Carla pulled out a sheet of paper and wrote her number on it she slid it over to him letting him make the choice to pick it up or not. He picked it up and stuck it in his pocket like nothing was really special about it he was playing this as cool as I was.


I stood to leave not saying good bye or anything and he did the same. Carla knew she would hear from him cause she saw him out the corner of her eye holding the paper entering it into his phone. She smiled to herself it seems she had gotten her Christmas gift.

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