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title: Village of Lights
verse: Unquiet Things
rating: G
word count: 520
prompt: Advent
pairing: Zoe+Hale
summary: Zoe introduces Hale to a local Christmas tradition.

It wasn’t Zoe’s turn.

“I have a surprise for you, but only if you let me drive,” she said as they stepped into the blustery winter evening.

Hale jangled the keys thoughtfully in his hand. He narrowed his eyes at her, but Zoe looked back at him guilelessly. He tossed her the keychain and she caught it easily.

“Santa is watching,” said Hale.

“Oh, come on. You’ll like it, I promise. Get in the car.”

Hale ducked into the passenger’s side of the squad car. He folded his long legs into the narrow gap and pushed the seat backwards while Zoe adjusted the driver’s side seat closer to the windshield.

While Zoe raised the seat, Hale turned on the radio. The car filled with staticy Christmas carols. Zoe waved his hand way, but she didn’t turn off the radio or change the station.

Zoe started the car. She pulled out of the municipal building parking lot. Hale expected her to turn left, towards Cherry Street and Lucy Dove’s diner. Instead, she turned right onto New Main Street.

“Where are we going?” asked Hale.

“Don’t get the wrong idea or anything,” said Zoe.

It was just after five o’clock, but the sun had already gone down. Zoe drove away from Lucy’s apple pie, to Hale’s great surprise.

“Close your eyes,” said Zoe.

“Is this some kind of Christmas hazing ritual? Like Christmas cabbage night?”

Zoe laughed, but she rolled her eyes, too. “This isn’t Christmas Eve Eve cabbage night, but don’t give the local punks any ideas. Are your eyes closed?”

Hale put a hand over his face. “My eyes are closed.”

“No peeking.”

Zoe drove on for a few more minutes while Hale sat with his hands over his eyes. She drove around a corner and slowed almost to a crawl before she said, “Now open.”

Hale grew up in the city. Every year, there was a massive Christmas tree in Copley
Square. There were wreaths on the streetlamps and the skeletal trees of the commons were adorned with glittering lights.

All of that had nothing on the winter wonderland in front of him. New Main Street glowed with so many lights Hale wondered if their tiny town could be seen from outer space. Entire houses were covered in rows of twinkling lights. A light-up Santa and nine tiny reindeer landed on the roof of one house, while another was decked out like a disco gingerbread confection, and a brilliant Star of Bethlehem hung over the Solemnity of All Souls Church, guiding believers to the Nativity display bathed in a soft golden glow.

Hale whistled.

Zoe drove along at a snail’s pace, giving Hale a chance to take in the cacophony of electric colors. Beside her, Hale kept blinking and rubbing his eyes in surprise.

The town light-up was a local tradition. Zoe remembered it from her childhood, and her parents talked about driving through town the day before Christmas Eve to admire the lights. Neighbors slaved away, mostly in secret, to decorate their houses for the big day.

“Was it worth letting me drive?” asked Zoe.

“Without a doubt.”

about

perfectworry: meet me in the door with the desert in the morning I am there (Default)
李杏 | Frances J., a lion-hearted girl

December 2015

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