On Christmas morning, Franny awoke well before daylight. The white holiday lights she’d strung in her window provided enough of a glow for her to navigate her way to the kitchen to start a fresh pot of coffee.
The coffee maker gurgled and sputtered. Franny found this particular sound as comforting as her favorite pair of socks.
She peeked into her bedroom, curious to see if it would disturb Leo’s sleep. This is one of the delights and terrors of a new relationship, discovering a lover’s habits, examining whether they will mesh with one’s own.
If I like to sleep in a cozy warm room, and my partner loves to sleep with an open window year-round, who will rest comfortably?
If my partner needs an hour or more to fully waken before breakfast, and I rise with an intense hunger, how will we manage our mornings?
If I adore Christmas, would string lights everywhere, and play Nat King Cole and Vince Guaraldi and Santa Baby endlessly, and my sweetheart finds everything about Christmas annoying, who will enjoy the holiday?
Leo responded to Franny’s silent inquiry with a snore, pulling a pillow on top of his head in his sleep.
She smiled and retreated back to her kitchen, pouring a cup of coffee, and curling up in her one comfy chair with her notebook.
The novel she’d been working on feverishly for the last two months called her. She filled pages with scribbled scenes, hoping she’d be able to read her own writing when the time came to type them up.
An hour flew by. Franny reached for her coffee cup, found it empty, and looked up.
The sun had risen, sending pink streaks through the morning sky. Leo stood in the doorway to the bedroom, wearing sweats and thick socks, sipping from a mug of his own. As if he were an apparition, he startled Franny; in the same moment, his expression of pure pleasure in watching her sent an agreeable shiver through her.
“How long have you been there?” she asked.
“Long enough to fall in love with you a little more than I was already,” he answered. “Also, you make strong coffee. I love that about you.”
“Are you hungry?” Franny asked, not sure how to respond, and realizing that she was famished.
“Starving,” Leo answered. “I’ll make breakfast. And Franny?”
“Merry Christmas. Mind if I put on some music? How are you with Charlie Brown’s Christmas?”
“I could listen to it endlessly,” Franny said. “Merry Christmas, Leo.”