Read on for the conclusion of this story! :D I considered torturing you all some more by making it four parts total...but I decided against it. B-) I actually have another story planned for tomorrow. :) Can you believe tomorrow is CHRISTMAS EVE?????? :-O How did that happen?!?!
---(from Pinterest) Um, it should say marine to match this story, but.... ;)
Colin's eyes widened as he stared behind her. “Um, Alaina...”
Before she could respond two large, rough hands clamped over her eyes.
“Guess who?” someone murmured.
Alaina was bewildered. Whose hands were over her eyes? Who was standing behind her? The voice was Colin's, but he was in front of her. Why wouldn't whoever it was speak? Were they afraid she would recognize their voice? But, who would want to surprise her like that anyw–
No...it couldn't be... Her thoughts halted and she whirled around, heart hammering in her chest.
She gasped as she gazed up into his handsome face. The moment was surreal. “Aaron?”
He grinned down at her and she fell crying into his arms. She caught a glimpse of tears in his eyes before she buried her face in his chest.
His arms encircled her waist and his head rested against hers. “I love you, Alaina.”
She slowly drew back and straightened, looking through her own tears and into his eyes. “I love you so much.”
Aaron’s thumb wiped away the moisture beneath her eyes and he leaned his forehead against hers. “I've missed you.”
“Me too,” she sniffed.
By now they had everyone's attention and the room erupted in applause.
Alaina and Aaron finally, reluctantly pulled apart. As he gave a wave and thanked their church family, she quickly claimed his right hand and arm. He's home... He's safe. Thank you, Lord!
Aaron turned back to his brother-in-law. “You did perfect to not have known ahead of time. Thanks, Colin.”
“You're welcome, Aaron. I've never seen her so happy,” Colin winked at his sister standing close at Aaron's side.
Aaron laughed and Alaina savored the yearned for sound.
“It's good to have you home, Aaron,” Colin sobered.
Aaron nodded. “Good to be home,” he tugged on Alaina's hand. “Come with me.”
She stuck close to his side through the maze of people, all of who wanted to thank him and welcome him home. Aaron patiently thanked each of them and answered their many questions. Alaina didn't mind the delay one bit; she was perfectly satisfied to just be with him.
Eventually, they made their way to the end of the fellowship hall and out of the throngs of people. Aaron pulled her towards the door into the sanctuary.
“They're finishing preparations for the Christmas play in there,” Alaina quickly told him.
He shrugged. “We’ll stay in the alcove, out of their way.”
“Alright,” she agreed and followed him through the open doorway and into the nearly dark alcove.
He stopped behind the door and drew her to his side. “Mrs. Seagle, may I have your permission to kiss you?”
She couldn't help but laugh and tease him. “I wouldn't forgive you if you didn't.”
He leaned down and kissed her ever so sweetly. Alaina’s heart fluttered.
“Was it worth waiting eight months?” he whispered in her ear.
“Yes,” she sighed. “Always. I'd wait forever for you.”
Held in his safe embrace, listening to the steady heartbeat beneath her ear, Alaina was content and ever so grateful.
Alaina sighed at the peace and bliss of the moment. A thought suddenly struck her and she slowly straightened up. “Darling?”
“Yeah?” Aaron smiled and tucked an escaping strand of hair behind her ear.
“Did you know you were coming home when we talked the other night?” she asked with warranted suspicion.
He grinned. “Yep.”
Alaina attempted to look upset. “‘Won't be able to call home for weeks’ you said.” She shook her head and wrinkled her nose, “and to think I believed you.”
He put on his best look of genuine repentance. “Forgive me?”
“Always.” She smiled and leaned her head against his shoulder before speaking again. “How did you get here?”
Aaron watched her for a moment with an unreadable but somber expression. “I walked.”
“You what?” Alaina exclaimed. Walked? The airport was miles from the church. As he struggled to keep a straight face, and to remove the mischievous gleam from his eye, Alaina realized he was teasing her again.
“Nice try,” she snickered. “So Corporal, how long did it take you to walk here from the Middle East?”
“Quite awhile. I had a terrible time swimming across the Atlantic,” he grinned. “I'm still waterlogged.”
Alaina laughed. “Okay, your jokes are over. Be serious now, please.”
“I'll try,” he winked at her.
Alaina bit her bottom lip before hesitantly speaking the dreaded question. “How long will you be here?”
He kissed her forehead. “How does forever sound?”
She froze and her brow furrowed. “What?”
“Didn't I tell you?” he teased, the goofy grin still tugging at the corners of his mouth.
“No, you didn't. Tell me what?” Alaina insisted, hoping he was going to say what she thought he was going to say.
“I'm home for real. Deployment is finished and I didn't get held over.”
“You mean it?” she whispered, slowly, almost disbelieving.
Aaron smiled and nodded. “I mean it.”
Overjoyed, Alaina wrapped her arms around him and pulled him back into a hug. “Oh, Aaron, I'm so glad.”
He chuckled and returned the embrace. “I thought you'd like that.”
“Like it?” she sniffed, getting choked up all over again. “I'm...I'm thrilled.”
“That better not be tears that I'm hearing,” Aaron teased.
“Only happy tears,” she assured him with a sweet smile. Thank you, God. Thank you for bringing him home.
Alaina’s parents offered to give her and Aaron a ride home after the Christmas play. Stuffed into the backseat along with Melissa and Colin, they were cramped but they made it work.
Arriving at their small rented house on the west side of town, Aaron slid out of the car and turned to give his assistance to Alaina.
“Thanks, John! Have a good night!” Aaron called across his shoulder to the departing car as he led his wife up the stairs onto the front porch of their home.
Alaina shivered and leaned closer to him. “I feel snow in the air.”
“Maybe we’ll have a white Christmas,” Aaron replied, grinning like a school boy.
The couple stopped for a moment and stood there near the banister. Each absorbed in their own thoughts, they watched the Christmas lights brightening houses and yards up and down the street, and the stars twinkling in the clear winter sky.
Aaron broke the bliss of the silent night. “Say, what day is it?”
Alaina turned and looked up at him in confusion. “It's December twenty-first. Why?”
Aaron frowned and rubbed a hand across his chin. “Only four days left. I've got some shopping to do.”
Alaina laughed. “Shopping for what?”
“Christmas is not the time to ask questions, but since I can't seem to say no to you...” Aaron made a face at that indubitable fact, “I'll tell you anyway. I need to shop for a gift for my beautiful, lovely, amazing, wonderful, darling wife.”
Alaina smiled at his thoughtfulness. “But Aaron, I've already recieved everything I want for Christmas.”
He frowned. “You–you have?”
“Yeah,” she nodded. “I've got you home, safe and sound. All I want for Christmas is right here.” She slid her arms around his waist. “I love you, Aaron.”
He held her close and kissed her hair. “I love you, darling. Merry Christmas.”
Alaina sighed. Yes, all was right in her world now.
“Merry Christmas, my Aaron.”
~ Verse of the Day -- 1 John 4:9 ~
Today's Christmas fun! (Is this line different every. Single. Day. or what? xD)
~ Visit Rebekah Ashleigh's blog for a Christmas movie review!
~ Visit Whimsical Writings for part three of Jesseca's amazing Christmas story!
~ Visit Counting Your Blessings One by One for a Christmas-y tag!
~ Visit Living in Faith and Fun for the sixth day of Amy's Christmas fun!
~ Visit Chosen Vessels for the story behind a well-known and loved Christmas song!
Merry Christmas everyone! We have a candlelight service at church tonight so I'm off to finish some preparations. What sort of Christmas-y stuff are you up to today? Is all your shopping done? I'd love to hear about it! ;)