The Christmas lights shone brightly on the houses of Linden Street. Snow was falling in sheets and already the lawns and sidewalks where indistinguishable. On the porch of a white house with black shutters a young woman sat. Music was blasting from the lively party inside. The people inside where drinking and toasting and dancing but one brown haired woman waited. She wore a red winter coat and a pretty black formal dress underneath. She had snow in her hair and her cheeks where flush from the cold. “Andy, please come inside!” her blonde green eyed friend called from the door. Andy silently shook her head and stared at the street. Her friend sighed and went back to the party. “She won’t come in!” she complained. “Why?” a young man in a collared shirt asked. “Her boyfriend Jared was due back tonight. She won’t come in till he gets here.” “Jared? He was in Iraq I thought?” “He was. He’s finally coming home. But maybe he got delayed or before he left he…well…you know.” “Oh. He might have…died?” The blonde nodded sadly. “Poor Andy.” That phrase was repeated a thousand times that night. “Poor Andy.” Everyone said it at least once. Still Andy did not move from her perch. Silently she waited as the clock chimed louder and later. A few frosty tears fell down as it approached midnight. She sobbed quietly into her black gloved hands as the midnight chimes echoed around the block. She broke down and sobbed. The partygoers paused in their festivities. They quietly listened to the heartbroken sobs of the young woman. “I’ve had enough of this!” Tess said loudly. She pushed back her red curls and with a determined glint in her grey eyes she dialed her cell phone. “Jared?” “The bus broke down? I don’t bloody care! Walk if you have to! There is a crying young woman on the porch and if you’re not here in 5 minutes I’m dragging her in and getting her totally wasted! She’s been out there since 6! Yes! Bloody 6 o’clock!” The sobs grew louder. “You best hurry boy! I’ll make the war seem like play time if your not here soon!” with that she snapped her cell phone shut. Andy just kept crying. She’d heard a bomb had gone off by his camp but had refused to think he had been hurt. Now…he wasn’t here and she could draw only one conclusion. She got up and decided to take a walk. As she jumped down the last step strong warm arms engulfed her and panting breath slammed against her neck. She looked up. Jared smiled down at her, his black hair stuck to his head from sweating and his blue eyes sparkling. He was still wearing his uniform. “Merry Christmas sweetheart.” He whispered wiping away her tears. She grinned from ear to ear and threw her arms around him. “Jared!” At her shout the blonde and Tess appeared at the door. “How cute!” the half drunken blonde murmured. “About bloody time.” Tess muttered but she was smiling. A bunch of men in uniform jogged over. One tossed a little black box to Jared. He caught it and dropped to a knee. “Andrea Michaels, will you marry me?” he said smiling. She was crying again, but tears of joy. She nodded and he slipped a sliver band on her finger with a diamond snowflake on it on her finger. Tess smiled softly. Then one of the uniformed men shouted “Tessy, I’m home!” she dropped her red plastic cup and beer sloshed to the floor. “Damen?” she whispered. She slowly opened the door and stepped out. He grinned; a new white scar ran from his left eyebrow to the bottom of his right eyes. He opened his arms. She raced over and all but tackled him to the ground. Both couples kissed while the others and the bus driver went inside for drinks and dancing. Andrea looped her arms around Jared’s neck. “Best. Christmas. Ever.” She said smiling. “I must agree.” Tess said kissing her solider. “Merry Christmas” both boys whispered.