Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Christmas Card Mystery - Gift Three

Photo Courtesy - Your Third Gift

Here is Part three of the Christmas Card Mystery. You can read part one by clicking here. Park two here.  

The story will be posted as separate gifts for you on the remaining 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

Chapter Three

The mystery seemed easy to solve at first. Dad planted the card near her suitcase. He gave it away with a wink. 

No, wait a minute.  His name remained on the suspect list but was pushed down to number two by her brothers, Tom and Ray. Slipping the card into the woodpecker's hole seemed more their practical joking style. 

When Jessica and Em showed up and said they found a card telling them about a meeting at their childhood hideout, the number one person on the suspect list became a mystery again. 

Anna whispered, "Do you think someone is here?" 

Other than animal prints, nothing else marred the snow except Anna's and her friends footprints. Still, a lot of snow had fallen in the last thirty minutes. They split up and searched behind trees and bushes in the area and found no one. 

"It's been a long time since we've had fun like this," said Em. Crystals from her breath puffed into the air. She had a contagious laugh that morphed any serious conversation into frivolity as a kid and had been missed from the holiday celebrations. "My singing career keeps me traveling and..don't get me wrong, I'm happy--" Her eyes went to the sky. "I'm just so tired and needing home." She wrapped her arms together hugging her chest. 

Anna and Jessica drew closer for a group hug for the briefest show of compassion before whipping out their cell phones to take selfies and toss snowballs. 

Photo Courtesy
"Have you seen the movie Frozen? I just love that little snowman." Anna hoped they had, and even if they hadn't they needed to make one for their Disneyland.

"Olaf? I love Olaf. I'll get something for his nose since we don't have a carrot." Jessica hurried off toward the bushes.

Em and Anna piled snow into a heap, shaped the snowman, and patted the finishing touches when Jessica returned with an armful of deco. "I have sumac for his nose, these two branches for arms, twigs for hair, stones for eyes, and pebbles for a mouth." 

They pulled out their phones and took another round of selfies with Olaf. A better day couldn't have been planned. 

Anna's new medical career as a pediatrician took every spare minute. Work days grew longer and free time shorter. She dragged tired feet to her bare bones efficiency each night, nuked a dinner, then fell asleep. Her staff encouraged her to close the office to take a few days for Christmas and rest. Reluctantly, she agreed only if Dr. Havard agreed to handle any emergencies.

The cool air and laughter livened her spirits like the sleepovers and pillow fights they use to have. She really missed their friendship. "Any news from either of you?"

Jessica held out her left hand. A shiny diamond glittered. 

The girls squealed. "When?"

"Brian gave it to me on Thanksgiving. We're getting married next June, and both of you have to be in my wedding."

A wedding. The first one from their group. Amazing how a bursting joy can intertwine with utter sadness and longing. Anna's finger had no near future hope of a ring.

Em bit her lower lip as if bursting to share her news. 

"Go ahead, Em. Don't make us wait." Jessica slipped her left hand back in her glove.

"Ryan and I have been talking, and talking and well, you know how some guys need a nudge to pop the question?"

"He did?" Jessica and Anna said right on cue.

Em nodded. "He promised to give me my ring at my family's Christmas dinner. You two have to be in my wedding next June." The three girls broke out in squeals again.

Life had been perfect for her friends. Careers, engagements. From the bottom of her heart, Anna truly was happy for them. The busy days required for opening a new medical office didn't allow time to devote to a relationship. Maybe in a year or two she might start dating.

Maybe. The only one who ever held her heart, knew how to make her laugh, and loved her unconditionally took all of Cupid's arrows with him to his grave overseas. Jess's smile popped in her mind.

"Anna, I hear you have a new medical office," Em said. "How's that going?" 

Both girls gave their full attention to Anna, waiting for her answer. "I love my work and have a full patient load already."

"Congratulations! I knew you'd be a successful doctor." Jessica, the all A valedictorian who chose to stay in Graysing to work in the diner, looped her arm through Anna's and squeezed. "I'd say God has blessed all of us." 

God truly had blessed them all, and Anna wouldn't give up anything He had given her and was so happy for her friends news. "Hey, we forgot about the newest envelope." She pulled it out of her pocket. Em and Jessica stood close to read with her.

"Hurry. These cards are as much fun as hot cocoa with marshmallows." Jessica pulled Anna's thumb to rip the envelope faster.

Odd, whoever set this up expected all three of them to be available to play the game. 

Anna opened the card.

Be sure to come back for chapter four 
which will be posted Monday.

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


Unknown said...

Friends are such treasures! Thank you, Mary, for gift 3! Waiting for Monday! :)
Kelly Y

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thank you, Kelly!

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Oh, I don't want to wait---really loving this story!
Thank you Mary.
cps1950 at gmail dot com

Mary Vee Writer said...

Yeah! Merry Christmas, Connie.

Deborah K. Anderson said...

I had an uncle Olaf. :-) Okay, don't have time to chat. I'm off to the next one.