Mistletoe and Tinsel

“I thought it time to see what Tinley’s been doing this year. Come with me for a festive treat.”

I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
Fandango’s One-Word Challenge – Silence
Word of the Day — Crunch
Pensitivity’s three things Challenge — Mistletoe– Ribbon – Leaf

Mistletoe and Tinsel

Carollers singing beneath ribbon and tinsel, festive lights and sleighbells. The perfect image of the festive season, even within a mall filled with crazed shoppers.

Linford scowled a man in a red-and-white suit passing by with a green velvet sack over his shoulder.

“What’s with you?” Santa asked.

“All this madness in here is your fault!” Linford told him.

“Ho-ho-ho, ain’t that the truth!” Santa grinned. “Have a Merry Christmas anyway,” waving a gloved hand, he disappeared into the crowds.

Linford made to walk past the choir outside the Essence of Style clothing department stall. He made it one step before something hollow thundered into the back of his head.

“Ooh, so sorry!” said a rotund lady. Her weapon of choice had been a long bag containing a dozen rolls of festive paper.

“No harm done,” Linford replied massaging his head, “Please remember that’s for wrapping parcels not bludgeoning people!” he added before walking on.

Entering the department store, he took one look at the long queues at the tills and changed his mind. Losing four hours in a queue to buy a new tie just wasn’t worth it.

Walking along the rows of shops within the mall, was like scaling the beach in Normandy today. Overloaded bags, like wrecking balls on kneecaps. Boxes on shoulders, battering rams for breaking noses. And fake snowballs, thrown like missiles and bullets.

Linford felt it a miracle when he arrived at the Demitasse coffee shop unscathed. It was the one place in the mall that was still quiet thanks to its ridiculously expensive menu.

Going inside, Linford’s dark eyes fell upon a sprig of mistletoe. The parasitic plant of green leaf and shining white berry seemed to laugh at him. Of course, it did. In all his thirty-five years he’d never had anyone to test it out with.

Linford bought himself a mocha. He chose a chair in the corner and sat down. Carols could still be heard from here, but this was as close to silence as it was going to get.

“It’s not good to be alone at this time of year, you know?”

“Excuse me?” Linford lifted his gaze from his coffee. He saw a young blonde lady had chosen the table next to him. She was wearing a festive red dress, beneath a pretty red and silver toggle coat.

“Hello?” She smiled and waved in a cheery way that set her bauble earrings bouncing above her shoulders. Was there a green tinge to her rosy cheeks? “You looked lonely, I thought I’d come and say hi.”

“Thank you,” Linford returned the smile. “I’m always lonely, but don’t let me ruin your day with my melancholy.”

“So, that’s why you gave the mistletoe such a murderous glare when you came in?”

“I’m afraid so,” Linford looked away. “Fate has decided I am to be lonely in this life. Even the supposed romantic magic of the mistletoe fails on me.”

The lady tilted her head towards him, “Aww, I’m sorry. I can tell you and Christmas don’t like each other very much, do you? I mean even the wrapping paper tried to give you a concussion, didn’t it?”

“Oh no,” Linford rubbed his forehead to hide his reddening cheeks. “You saw that festive assault, did you?”

 “Yes,” she giggled, “Your reply was priceless.”

“Gee, thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” The lady sipped her gingerbread latte. “Tell me, did you ever love someone?”

Linford nodded, “Once. Her name was Emily.”

“Tell me.”

“She never even knew I existed. She glowed like an angel on the playground. I used to look for her every day of school until we went our separate ways at high school. I never saw her again after that.”

“You never talked to her?”

“No.” Linford shook his head. “I was too afraid. I never wanted to upset her. Maybe that’s why I’m lonely. I don’t want to upset anybody by pushing myself on them.”

“I understand,” the lady gave him an x-raying sort of look. “You need to have confidence, I see a wonderful, kind gentleman in you that ladies would adore.”

“Thanks,” Linford drained his coffee cup. “Well, time for me to get out the madhouse and go home.”

“Okay, it was nice meeting you.” The lady smiled. “Remember, Christmas is magic. If you believe — you can share in that magic too.”

Linford opened his mouth to scoff at the idea instead he said, “Thank you.” With that, he entered the crowds again.

Having ducked a marauding Christmas tree, Linford cursed the chaotic mall and made to leave.

He dived past the electronics store, and cut in front of the big pharmacy. That brought him close to the main entrance and relative freedom. It was there his world turned red and gold.

An enormous sleigh shaped garland of gold tinsel and red ribbons fell from the ceiling.

Several people screamed, a lady wearing a white coat cannoned into Linford.

Seeing the sleigh, he caught and shielded her as he was knocked flat by the large decoration.

It hit the floor with a crunch of breaking baubles and flying tinsel.

“Someone, help them!” yelled a man.

“They must be squashed!” screamed a woman sending those around her into hysterics.

“Bloody Santa!” Linford swore as he wrestled with the sleigh. “It’ll be okay, madam,” he said to the lady

“Thank you,” she managed from beneath him.

Several shoppers grabbed corners and lifted it off him. “Hurry, get out from under there,” said one urging him and the lady to safety.

Linford climbed to his feet and helped her stand. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine, you saved me from the worst of …” She froze looking him in the eyes. “Linford?”

For the first time, he took in her golden-blonde hair, deep-blue eyes and soft round features. He was transported back to the playground. The same features but younger belonged to a special person as she laughed and played on the swings. “Emily?”

“You both okay?” asked a mall security guard.

“We’re fine,” she nodded. “I – er, thanks for saving me, again,” she added to Linford.

“You’re welcome.” Linford’s mind was spinning. How is it possible that she was here? “I can’t believe I met you again like this. I can’t believe you know my name?”

Emily grinned, “I see you’re still the same cute and naïve boy you were at school.”

“Pardon?” Linford said feeling attacked.

She chuckled, “You honestly think I wouldn’t remember the boy following me about with infatuation written all over him. Yet too scared to say ‘hi’ do you?”

“I’m sorry, I must have been a total creep.” Linford turned away. “Well, nice meeting you. Have a good Christmas.”

Without waiting for a reply, he set off toward the exit. A hand on his sleeve pulled him to a stop.

“Linford, wait,” Emily urged with teary eyes. “I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“You didn’t. Look, I’m sure you have plenty of shopping to do,” He gave her a longing yet sorrowful look and left the mall.

“Linford, please.”

He kept walking with the demons voice in his mind. It urged him to keep going. To leave so he wouldn’t hurt her.”

“Linford!” Emily called after him.

Ahead of him, the crowds parted revealing a reindeer. The majestic brown-and-grey creature looked straight at him with a shake of its antlers.

Linford loved animals, he smiled at the reindeer as he passed by the ‘Tinsel’s Reindeer.’ display stand.

It reached over the fence and nudged him in the stomach.

“What’s up, fella?” Linford asked.

“He’s telling you to stop,” Emily said having caught up. She tickled the reindeer’s chin. “Thank you, Blitzen.”

“That’s Cupid, actually.” said the reindeer’s keeper. Another familiar blonde lady. She gave Linford a cheeky wave.

Linford recognised her from the coffee shop and acknowledged her wave. Turning to Emily, he sighed. “Please, go back to enjoying your day.”

“So, do I get a say in what I do with my day?” Emily said with an imploring look.

“Sure, but I have to get going home,” Linford replied, desperate to get away from her. Without waiting he started walking again.

Behind him, the reindeer keeper urged Emily to keep going.

Linford walked down through the churchyard beyond the mall. He crossed the street and headed towards the market.  Making a right turn there, he headed into an arcade of medieval era shops selling chocolates and toys. The place was filled with golden glowing Christmas trees and garlands creating a beautiful festive picture.

“Ho-ho-ho! Merry Christmas!” cheered Santa at the toyshop.

Linford smiled at him, “Same to you, old man.”

“Linford Michaels, your present shall come early this year,” Santa said.

“Huh, I never get presents,” Linford scowled and stepped away.

“Every once in a while, you should stop and look behind you, Then you might notice the magic created for you!” Santa called after him before giving some children little presents to unwrap.

Linford stepped around the corner by a café to catch his bus. Curiosity tore at his body. “Fine!” He groaned and glanced behind him.

Nothing special presented itself among the milling shoppers.

“Huh, no magic the —” looking forward again he stunned himself to silence. There was Emily almost glowing in her white coat, over a sparkling velvet dress.

“Hi!” she said with a coy wave.

“Why are you chasing me?” he asked.

“For three years you longed for me and said nothing. I felt the same for you but I couldn’t say anything either. Then school ended. I so hoped we’d go to the same high school. All that summer I was determined to speak to you there. You never came. I never saw you again. At least until the sleigh tried to murder us anyway.”

“Really, you had feelings for me too?” Linford felt himself tingling.

Emily nodded, “I need to spend some time with you to see, but I think I still do.”

“I …” Linford gulped, he had to take the chance, “Okay, may I take you to dinner, then?”

“I thought you’d never ask?” Emily approached him and pointed to the vaulted ceiling of the arcade. Each of the beams was adorned with beautiful sprays of mistletoe. “Ever tested those out?”

“Never,” Linford took a breath and positioned himself beneath a spray.

“Then let’s try it together,” Emily ran her fingers down the lapels of his coat.

He brushed his nose against hers. Something sparkled like electricity as their lips touched in a kiss that left his heart thrumming with a heat he’d never felt before.

“Mmm, yup I still have feelings for you,” Emily said coyly.

“Me too!” Linford gasped as his eyes fell upon the café on the corner. Therewith a cup of coffee in her hands was the lady from the coffee shop in the mall.

“Told you, there was magic in mistletoe and Christmas didn’t I?” she said.

“You sure did.” Linford smiled at her. “What’s your name?”

“I’m Tinley Tinsel. You were lucky I’m on a short break between decorating Christmas trees for Santa,” she replied.

“Not sure I believe that, but thank you.” Linford took Emily’s hand in his. “Do excuse us.”

“Of course, Merry Christmas,” Tinley said.

“Merry Christmas!” Emily replied.

Tinley watched the new couple walk away with a smile. The happy elf rose and wandered into an alley where she summoned a cloud of snow and vanished back to the North Pole. For her Christmas was about love, family, and happiness. She did so love to make dreams come true for those reasons.

The End


Did you enjoy Tinley Tinsel’s magic? Here are her other festive tales just for you.
A Tangle with Tinsel
Welcome to Mistle’s
Merry Malfunction
Merry Christmas, Tinley
Enjoy!


Thanks for reading my friends.

There’s more in the Poetry CornerPoetry Nook, and the Short Story Collection

Have a great day!

42 thoughts on “Mistletoe and Tinsel

Add yours

  1. I really enjoyed it. Wanted to scream “nah-humbug” when they weren’t squished, but forgot as soon as I thought it because I was still reading. Not fair, Mason. You can’t make stories like this interesting or write them well, it makes us cantankerous folks forget to be miserable!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re not fair. I can’t sit through any Christmas stuff. Then you have me wanting to know what’s in presents, reading like four in a row. Stop writing good Christmas stuff. It’s against my religion! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, I guess having a love-filled heart with nobody to give it too, means I can fill my stories with festive cheer.

        Before I met Tinley I actually created a longer nod to Hallmark movies in my story Merry Mishap – I self-published that one in 2019 and nobody bought it yet.

        Like

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