The Three Gifts of Christmas

by Nell DuVall

The Three Gifts of Christmas by Nell DuVall is a tender love story of people facing difficult choices in an uncertain world.

Family or love? Stephanie Graham must choose between her frail elderly grandmother and Craig, her fiancé, when he gets a promotion that would take him to England. She's never traveled far from home and dreads leaving her friends and all she knows, especially her grandmother, to migrate to a strange country. Besides, if he loved her, he wouldn't go.


Excerpt

Steffy sighed and stared at the screen of disappointing results from her internet job search. Few listings for flutists appeared, and almost all were out of state. Her part-time slot with the local chamber group would end soon. Her savings weren’t much and diminished day by day. Hopefully, the holidays would offer a few pickup gigs.

Her thoughts turned to Craig, her fiancé. Now, if they got married soon, two could split the bills and save ... A small wedding, not too fancy or expensive, just the immediate family and a few close friends would do. Maybe she’d wear a frilly dress or a tailored suit she could wear later.

The smell of summer roses and—wisteria?—perfumed the air. Buoyed by a melody, she floated down a grassy aisle beneath a baby-blue sky. Somewhere a soft flute played a beloved tune. “Greensleeves.” The haunting melody carried her toward Craig standing at the end of the aisle. He gazed at her, his face filled with love. He waited, arms outstretched—

A ringing noise sounded.

The vision splintered and faded. Steffy blinked, startled, and stared at the phone. Ally’s name flashed on the caller id.

“What’s up, Ally?” She vaguely remembered the mention of some job opening. “Any news?”

“Wait till I tell you,” Ally gasped. “I just heard from Cleveland. Cleveland! I have an audition Tuesday.”

“Oh, Ally, that’s great. I’m so glad for you. Call me as soon as you finish.” Cellists were always in demand, but not flutists.

“Will do. I’m so psyched I can hardly talk.”

“You had better be. I envy you. I haven’t been so lucky. Columbus isn’t hiring, and I don’t want to go too far away. My Gram is so frail these days. She worries me.”

“Sorry to hear that, Stef, but if you’re not willing to move, you haven’t much job choice. That’s what you get for choosing the flute. Everyone wants to be the next Jean-Pierre Rampal.”

Ally paused for a moment. “How are things with that hunk of yours? When are you two getting married?”

“Umm, I’ve sort of been thinking about that. I’m not in any hurry you know.” Steffy’s phone beeped. Call Waiting. “I’ve got another call. Talk to you later.”

Steffy switched to the incoming call. “Hi, Craig. How are you?”

“Fine, honey. Thought we might have dinner tonight somewhere nice. Okay with you?” Excitement colored Craig voice.

“Yeah, I’m sort of tired of hamburgers. Do we have something to celebrate?” Steffy waited, wondering what he had in mind and hoping her vision meant he wanted to set the wedding date.

“I’ve some great news to share and ... something to ask you.”

“What?” Yes! He wanted to set the date.

“Unh-unh, not now. You’ll just have to wait until tonight. I’ll pick you up about seven. Please wear that blue dress I like so well. Gotta go. Love you.” The phone clicked as he disconnected.

Steffy sat for a moment staring at her silent phone. She and Craig had been friends forever. Well, at least since high school, and had dated each other exclusively this last year. He’d asked her to marry him, but they hadn’t yet set a date. They were both trying to establish themselves. In the present economy and that took time and effort. She sighed and turned back to her job search.

"The Three Gifts of Christmas" by Nell DuVall

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Genres

Holiday - Christmas
Short


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