Christmas #1

As usual for an autumn morning in Crimson Heights, the air was very cool while the sun still shone brightly enough to prevent any frost from painting the ground. Throughout the small town, leaves as crisp as the chilly air and and as colorful as the rising sun covered the ground in a patterned blanket. Delia McAdams found herself heading through the light morning traffic on her way to her favorite place in the world, A Slice of Heaven, the tiny café that was conveniently less than a block away from her apartment building. Although it was only a quarter after seven, Crimson Heights was somehow bustling with activity. Several businessmen and women sat in their BMW’s with their lightly sweetened coffees on their early comute to the nearby city. The sidewalks were filled with a mix of small children on their way to elementary school, tin lunch boxes in hand, and mothers doing their weekly shopping with giant paper bags full of groceries slung over their arms. As usual, A Slice of Heaven was filled with a combination of loyal customers who couldn’t imagine going a day without the café’s home brewed mint tea and new commers who were dying to try their world famous blueberry scones. “The usual Delia?” asked a short waitress who’s apron was already stained with coffee and her bangs fallign in her face despite the early hour. “Sure,” replied Delia as she placed her scarf and matching knitted hat on the hook near her favorite booth as she took a seat, “and throw a lemon muffin on the plate too.” Delia’s cheeks felt as though they were slowly growing in size while in reality, her frail skin was slowly trying to adjust to the sudden plunge in temperature. She placed her canvas bag beside her in the booth and began rufflign through the various papers and caramal wrappers that were rapidly accumulating. The waitress slid Delia’s order onto the table in front of her, the steam rising off the food instantly fogged Delia’s large, boxy glasses. “Be careful,” murmured the waitress with a soft smile, “the plate’s hot.” Delia nodded in response and smiled awkwardly in thanks. As she dug a scrappy polishing cloth from her bag, Delia hungrily surveyed her plate, reciting her usual breakfast order from memory; 2 scrambled eggs, a small cup of honeydew, one waffle (slightly burnt), a small pitcher of pure maple syrup, and a tall glass of milk with a purple plastic straw. Delia smiled that the bright yellow of her muffin blended in perfectly with her plate. After taking a long sip of milk, Delia drove back into her satchel and pulled out a tattered book with ripped corners. It’s dark black cover stretched across the table, creating an inky sea. After a bit more searching, Delia dug out several oil pencils and began sketching out her glass of milk. Although Delia was a very creative and skilled artist, she was convinced that her realism skills needed some work. She tried her best to make her strokes as light and calculated as possible, in order to communicate the silkiness of the milk. “Hey!” cried the familiar voice of a blonde-haired, freckled boy, “Thought I might find you here!” The sudden calling caused Delia to shake and, as a consequence, her pencil fell across the page and left a long black line across the page. Although Delia was known to have quite a temper, her friend, Rufus, was the only person that she somehow managed to avoid telling off. As expected, Rufus wore a goofy grin that matched his hair that was in desperate need of a trim. He wore black sneakers that Delia found visually unappealing. Even though he wore them every possible minute, Rufus’s beloved sneakers somehow always appeared to be in mint condition. “What’s the plan, chief?” asked Rufus as he slid into the seat across from Delia and helped himself to what was left of her lemon muffin. Delia rolled her eyes as she gave up on her etching of the glass and allowed her thoughts to run wild across the paper. Ever since the pair had gone into business, Rufus had adopted the nickname chief especially for Delia. She found it completely impractical judging by the fact that they wer both co-founders. “I don’t know,” murmered Delia, he mouth barely moving, “What do we have scheduled?” Rufus reached into his pocket and pulled out a silver tablet that that sparkled in the monochrome lighting. He haphazardly tapped the screen so fast it was hard to believe that he knew what he was doing (although Delia knew that he was actually the most skilled assistant one could hope to find). “You have a meeting at 10:00,” said Rufus without even looking up from the screen. Delia glanced up to meet Rufus’s eyes, her face full of questioning. “A meeting?” she asked in disbelief, “Really?” Rufus nodded before feeling around on Delia’s plate, trying to find any remaining muffin, causing Delia to instantly lose her appetite. “We should get going then,” smiled Delia as she began thrusting her crinkled papers and her sketchbook, her page now covered in doodles, into her bag. “What?” asked Rufus curiosly, “We still have a couple hours!” “Please!” groaned Delia as she knotted her scarf and buttoned up her coat, “The office is in no condition for a meeting! We’ll barely be able tog et it clean by 10:00!” “We?” asked Rufus, who wasn’t exactly the hands-on or heavy-lifting type. Still, Rufus leapt to his feet and tried his best to gather his things at the same lighting speed at which Delia moved. “Put it on my tab Angelina!” called Delia to her waitress as she threw her bag over her shoulder and walked with her head held high out the door, and Rufus trailing behind her like an ecstatic puppy.

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