A Legend, TN Christmas Short Story
Nora Patterson (from Side Dish) crashes into the back end of Reverend Rock Peters' (from Dates Du Jour) SUV on a snowy Christmas Eve night, and finds herself snowbound with the attractive minister. She's prayed for someone to share her life--could Rock be the one? Or once again, will love pass her by this Christmas?
Nora Patterson gripped the steering wheel of her shiny new, red Camaro and leaned forward, as if pushing her face closer to the windshield would actually help her see better. The visibility was awful. In fact, worse than awful. The weatherman on the radio called it near whiteout conditions.
She had no business being out in this mess—in her shiny new, red Camaro, or in any vehicle. She should have left Legend and headed home to Pigeon Forge hours ago, quietly excusing herself and citing the weather. Should have called her father and told him she was on her way, and would be home in time for Christmas Eve dinner. Should have double-checked her purse for her cell phone before leaving Suzie Matthews’ house.
She knew right where it was, sitting on Suzie’s side table in the living room. How could she forget it?
But she didn’t do any of those things.
A whole host of other should-haves ran through her head. Should have checked the weather. Should have driven her dad’s truck. Should have worn boots rather than three-inch red pumps…
“Please, God, just get me home. I can’t walk in snow in these shoes.” Besides, her legs were freezing. Should have worn pants.
If it hadn’t been for the fact that she was having such a great time at Suzie’s annual Christmas Eve open house at the B&B, getting the scoop on her upcoming cookbook release so Nora could pimp it for Suzie’s New Year’s Eve signing at her book store in Pigeon Forge, she wouldn’t have lost track of the time. Or maybe, she would have paid more attention to the weather outside.
She’d not missed the open house since Suzie and her husband Brad started hosting it three years earlier. They held a silent auction during the afternoon, with the proceeds going to Ms. Addie’s Place. The shelter and community building hosted all sorts of programs for children—mostly foster kids and those at risk. Earlier today, Nora had dropped off a half-dozen boxes of free children’s books for Christmas presents. She’d also donated a set of Christmas picture books for the silent auction. Even though Legend wasn’t her hometown, Nora had grown to love the small community—especially since she and Suzie were good friends now, and also because her best friend, Becca, had moved to Legend after she’d married Sam Ackerman.
Of course, Legend was where Sam’s brother, Nora’s ex-boyfriend, Jack Ackerman, lived too. Key word, ‘ex’ boyfriend. Her ‘ex’ boyfriend who had married his high school sweetheart, Jasmine Walker a few months ago.
But she was over that now.
One day, perhaps, she’d find her true love. Maybe Santa would grant her wish. She’d been a good girl this year. Pretty much. She’d even prayed, but it seemed God hadn’t thought it was time for her—yet.
Not this Christmas.
Especially since Christmas was almost upon them.
“Come on, Santa, and God, and anyone else out there who is listening—” she leaned forward again and peered up into the darkening sky, “—if you plan to bring me a future husband for Christmas, times a-wastin’. It’s Christmas Eve already…”
She sighed. From her lips to God’s ears, but she had her doubts.
Shaking her head, she concentrated on her driving, and wished she was back at Suzie’s.
As usual, her friend’s house was warm and welcoming. A fire lit up the hearth in her living room, and cinnamon sticks added to the house coffee blend smelled and tasted heavenly—especially on this blustery day. Not to mention the oodles of Christmas cookies she’d sampled, and the thick slice of Christmas Jam Cake with gooey caramel glaze she’d devoured, made her happy and cozy.
Nora licked her lips just thinking about it. She’d definitely stayed too long. Suzie even wanted her to spend the night.
Should have spent the night. Darn it!
With the back of her gloved hand, she attempted to wipe away condensation building up on the glass. Scrunching her eyes, she peered out the hole. Her headlamps made two funnels of light pushing out in front of the car, with a snow-sleet mixture slanting into the beam.
A knot curled up in her stomach. She had an hour’s drive yet to Pigeon Forge—on a good day, and this definitely wasn’t a good day—and even though she didn’t have to go over Legend Mountain, she did have to go around it and the lake. The road was narrow, and in places, hilly. The day was only going to get darker and the snow deeper. Never in her life had she seen the white stuff come down so hard, and so fast. What with dusk falling and the snow, the visibility was getting worse. The ruts in the road looked at least a couple of inches deep already.
Ruts. Someone had come this way before her, not very long ago. Some other fool, she guessed. Then just as she had that thought, she saw the brake lights flash in front of her, like someone was intentionally pushing a foot on and off the brake, warning her to—
She slammed on her own brakes, gripped the steering wheel tighter, and braced herself.
The Camaro fishtailed and its backend slid to the right, swinging around and clipping the tail end of the vehicle in the road. She spun again and shrieked, losing all sense of direction, the car moving of its own accord. By then she had released the steering wheel and her hands covered her face.
Jesus take the wheel, and Carrie Underwood’s voice rang through her head.
With a crunch of metal against something super solid, the vehicle came to an abrupt, jolting halt. Nora’s body thrust to the left and her head cracked against the drivers’ side window. Pain shot through her temple, and then just as quickly as it had all started, her world went black.