Pulling the tattered Swiss Chocolate box towards her, she lifted the pretty pictured lid with the red silk ribbon bonded to the front. Her heart leapt as his crinkly eyes stared up at her from inside, the first snap she’d ever taken of him. Her dedicated unofficial memento featuring him, just him. In a chocolate box. It couldn’t be more perfect. She gazed dreamily at the thick dark hair, with just a hint of a curl at one temple and then at the broad, open smile she could never resist.
If only he could be with her now. Sometimes, life conspired against you. Why had she suddenly thought to bring this box out from it’s hiding place; the pictures were ancient, the box even more so. The waft of her cinnamon scented hot chocolate reminded her: The first time they met. The village pub, bedecked with all the trappings of a traditional Christmas, it’s roaring, welcoming fire and bunches of cinnamon sticks hanging above on the mantelpiece. She’d never felt so giddy or so girly as she did then, completely smitten with this charming, wonderful, man. She’d known immediately; she would feel this way for ever.
Christmas wouldn’t be the same, alone. There was normally so much joy and laughter in the cottage. Now, all was quiet, apart from her favourite, Bing Crosby, singing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ - she smiled wryly, it couldn’t be less apt at this time.
The shrill ring of the telephone gate-crashed her daydreams; it made her jump, then she calmed herself and reached for the receiver.
His voice was like a river of molten gold to her.
“Ellie, you’ll never believe it! I was able to get the morning flight after all! I’ll be home before the Queen’s Speech …”
She slid contentedly back onto the sofa, his lilting tone warming her more than any fire ever could, with the cinnamon smelling memories of forty years of Christmases together.