The snow storm had gotten worse in the last hour as Abby DeVale looked out the window. The tarmac was covered in sleet and ice, and the mild snow storm that had been so cute and quaint three days ago had now closed the airport. She has been on assignment for work, snapping photographs in Alaska for the magazine. Yet here she was, now, on Christmas Eve, far from home. The airport had been closed for the past two days, it was a smaller airport, the kind designed for Cessna and local charter flights. She was supposed to have taken her charter flight to Anchorage and catch her connecting flight flight home to Seattle, but those chances had been dashed by the sudden blizzard.
Abby thought back to the previous week, when the magazine had asked to to shoot the pictorial at the last minute. The magazine usually used Norman Adders, he'd been the senior photographer for the last 15 years. Abby had only been with the company six months. Still Norman's wife had been in a car accident and he didn't want to leave her. With it being Christmas week, no one else wanted the assignment. Abby saw it as an opportunity. By taking the gig she could prove herself to the editors and hopefully get some better assignments in the future. They were already raving about the images she had emailed back and had hinted that she may even be up for the New York assignment next month based on what she had shot.
The only downside had been David, her boyfriend. He had said all the right things, acted so positively when she had gleefully informed him about the opportunity the magazine was giving her. It was only now, when she looked back on it, that she could see the hurt in his eyes. This had been their first true Christmas together, despite dating for the last three years. David had been in the military when they had first met, a photographer for the US Army deployed in Iraq. He'd been giving a lecture at Abby's university, showing some footage he had shot in Afghanistan. She'd hung around after class to ask him questions. She always said it was a professional interest that had intrigued her, but truth be known she had thought he was cute. They eventually met for coffee, and within the first date they both knew it was something special.
Abby and David had a long distance relationship most of that first year, her finishing school in Los Angles while David continued his tour of duty. Even after David's tour finished, he worked as a civilian liaison to the military, coordinating many of the journalists who followed the military in action. That was how they had finished their second Christmas as a couple. Abby finished school and took a job for a small magazine operating out of Seattle and David and her leased a small apartment together. The relationship worked because both loved to travel and both loved what they did, and it made each moment they spent together that much more special. Abby suspected now that David had been looking forward more to this Christmas than she had first suspected.
Abby stared out the window into the snow storm and suddenly felt very, very alone. Trapped so far away from David, and alone on Christmas Eve. She watched the dull overcast of the afternoon fade slowly into the dark whiteness of snow at night, sitting at the window, her feet tucked beneath her. She stayed there until the airline attendant came and told her that the snow wouldn't be letting up anytime soon. He also told her that since tomorrow was Christmas, there wouldn't be any flights out. Abby nodded numbly, pulling on her overcoat. She wrapped herself into her warmest clothes, securing her scarf and putting on her gloves and mittens as the attendant arranged to give her a ride to the little bed and breakfast that she had been staying at the past two days. They hurried together to the car and slowly drove to her room. Abby muttered her thanks, watching the snow rage against the window of the car.
She told the attendant goodbye and hurried into the home. There was a roaring fire in the hearth of the common room as Abby got her key from the hostess. The old woman who ran the inn gave her a smile and a hug, telling her not to feel so sad on Christmas Eve. Abby gave a small lopsided smile, and nodded, before trudging back upstairs. All she wanted to do right now was to curl up under the covers of the bed and cry. Every time her mind wandered, she could see the hurt in David's eyes when she left, she could hear the longing in his voice when she had called him. Now that she wouldn't be home on Christmas, she dreaded calling him. She never really knew how much Christmas had meant to her before. She thought about the dinner that David had planned to have, the candles lit by the window overlooking the Puget Sound, the smell of his herb roasted chicken. Just a quiet evening with the man she loved. It was only in that moment that Abby really understood that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with David.
Abby reached her room and thumbed in the key, pushing the door open, her bags tucked under her arms. She expected the dark cool of her room, but was surprised by the soft red glow of cinnamon scented candles. Her bed was covered in white rose petals, like snowflakes on a field of deep red. She dropped her bags, covering her mouth in shock as David emerged from the bathroom. He was wearing a black suit and tie, a huge smile on his face as he approached Abby. She was speechless, her eyes wide as David came right up to her. He gave her a huge smile and lowered himself to one knee. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small black box, opening it as he looked up deeply into Abby's eyes. She gave a small shudder as tears begin to flow from her eyes as she stared at the slivery glint of the wedding ring resting in the box.
It was all she managed to stammer as David pulled teh ring from the box, reaching for her hand with his free one.
"A little snow wasn't going to ruin my Christmas plans with you. I'm so proud of you for doing this assignment, and I'd never ask you to choose between an assignment and me, you never have and that's one of the reasons I love you so much. This is our first Christmas where we were going to be together though, and I couldn't bear the thought of not spending it with you. After you told me about the snowstorm yesterday I called your pilot, who confided in me that the chance of you getting clearance for today was going to be next to impossible. I took a flight to Anchorage and rented a car, I drove all night to make sure that I was hear for when you got home. I have a very important question to ask you that just couldn't wait until the 26th. Abby DeVale, I love you more than life itself, and every time I come home to you that love deepens. I want to spend the rest of my life coming home to you. I love you. Will you be my wife."
Abby nodded furiously as he slipped the ring on her finger. She looked at the gem sparkling back at her through thick tears, her shock only broken by a deep kiss from David.
"Merry Christmas Abby."
End of Line.