Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Christmas Card Mystery-Gift Five

Photo Courtesy - Gift Five

Here is gift five of the Christmas Card Mystery. You can read gift one by clicking here. Gift two here.  Gift three here. Gift four here

The story is posted as separate gifts for you on Mondays and Wednesdays during the advent season. 

May your Christmas bring a ray of shining hope and love to you and your family as you celebrate Jesus' Birthday.

Merry Christmas,
Mary Vee

The Christmas Card Mystery
By Mary Vee

Gift Five

Photo Courtesy-site to buy Wonka Bar

The Willy Wonka Chocolate bar foil ripped when Anna pulled. "A piece for each of us." She handed Jessica and Em a piece. They savored the treat even though it didn't quite taste as creamy and intense as Lindt chocolate. 

Em pointed to the wrapper. "Is there a clue inside?"

Both sides of the the two wrapper parts only had the usual packaging marks. "No." She handed the wrapper to Jessica and Em. "I'm not sure what else the last clue could have meant. She checked the card again. It says, 'Charlie Bucket's prize will delight and satisfy.'" 

"Do you think we need to ask the cashier?" asked Jessica.

"Wouldn't hurt." Em walked over to the only employee in the customer area. "Did someone leave a card or a message for us?"

His eyebrows furrowed, puzzled with the question. He shuffled through some papers on the counter. "Nope. Nothing here. But I can ask my manager for you if you need.

"No thanks." 

Anna walked to the door. The diner across the street was packed. "We used to have hot chocolate there every Friday after the game, remember?"

"That's right," said Em. "I had extra cocoa in my mug."

"I had extra whipped cream," said Jessica.

Anna's eyes closed as she savored the rich chocolate memory. "And I had a piece of chocolate on the plate to stir in the cocoa. After standing out in the rain for a whole football game, the flavor warmed me from my head to my toes. Yum."

"You did mention hot chocolate earlier," said Em. "Maybe the clue is over there."

Wouldn't most families eat at home during the holidays? "Yes, but why is the diner packed? Why now?" 

Jessica checked the time on her cell phone. "It's dinnertime. Why not?"

Something sounded really fishy. Dinnertime. Clues. None of this added up as a good reason why the diner was packed when decorated, empty dining rooms waited. "One of you knows what's going on, don't you? C'mon. 'Fess up."

"I haven't a clue. Honest." Em shrugged.

Anna tried to figure out the truth from the look on their faces but couldn't. "My brothers conned you two into a practical joke, didn't they?" 

Jessica shook her head, innocence wrapped in the surprise pasted in her wide eyes. "You know I can't keep a secret from you. Look at my face."

"I can't keep one, either," said Em.

True. They never could keep a secret from her. One would smile or the other laugh and soon the secret would burst from their lips. But they didn't do that this time. They seemed as curious as she was.

They crowded at Chocolatier's front door window and looked across the street. "There are people standing in the aisles over there," said Jessica. 

"What say we crash the party and join the fun?" Anna opened the door. No more questions. Time to move on.

While they ran across the street, Anna's gut rumbled. Not a hungry or sick motion. Not even a concern. It was more of a something is up or is about to happen sensation. Hopefully it was a good sign.

Em opened the door, leading the way inside. The sign reading, "Seat Yourself" stood by the door. So many of their classmates and their families had squished into booths, their tables filled with burgers, fries, and soda. Em yanked Anna's arm. "There're three seats at the counter."

Jessica and Anna nodded. Talking over the din was an impossibility without shouting. Anna sat in the middle and handed out menus. She didn't know why she bothered to open hers, the choices hadn't changed in the last fifteen years she'd come. "I'm having a burger and hot chocolate."

"Me, too." Em closed her menu and set it on the counter.

"Me, three." Jessica set hers back in the holder.

While waiting for the server to take their order, Em scanned the room. "Did you see the latest couples over by the window? Eric and Ariel. Adam and Annabelle. Al and Jasmine."

"I knew they'd get together in time," said Jessica.

"Everyone knew it." Anna laughed with them. But it wasn't a genuine laugh. 

Like a nasty virus, a deep longing ate away the happiness that had bubbled in her heart since she stepped off the train. She closed her eyes. It was wrong to feel this way. This was her hometown and her friends. She graduated from med school and a fellowship with high marks. She had a full list of patients. She had no right to feel empty. 

Who else could boast of two ornery brothers working together to pull the best practical jokes and yet always managed to be there to change her tire or fight off a bully? Her parents encouraged every step of the medical school process sending care packages every week. She had so much.

But the longing grew. 

"What can I get you?" The server's question yanked her from her thoughts, surprising her.

"A burger, hold the onions, and hot chocolate, please."

Jessica placed her order then leaned toward their threesome. "Anna, you haven't told us much about your new office."

"There isn't much to tell. The building is old, but something I can afford as a starter. I really love seeing the kids...."

Their small town diner had a reputation for super fast service. The food wasn't gourmet, but it was fast and tasty. The server set three mugs of hot chocolate in front of the girls. Anna's, though, had a red envelope under hers. She looked up at the server. "For me?"

"I only do as I'm told." He wiped his hands on his apron and returned to his work.

Jessica and Em squealed. "Eeeeee! The next clue!"

Be sure to come back for gift six 
which will be posted Monday.

And feel free to invite others! This gift is for everyone :)

No comments: