Alexander Williams sighed as he rummaged through the huge stack of articles that covered his desk. He only had one week to make his final decision and he knew without any doubt, his final answer to Maria Carter wouldn’t be easy. She had begged him to stay with the newspaper agency, time and time, again. She had grown rather fond of him over the years and it broke her heart knowing that this would most likely be the last week she had to spend with him. She did know that his heart was in New Hampshire where he had grown up and would always be the one place he could truly call home.
Charlotte, North Carolina had been the beautiful city where he had lived and worked for more than two decades and although he had became familiar with his surroundings and had made many friends in the Queen City, he still desperately felt that the remainder of his years should be spent with his close family. The Charlotte Gazette had offered him a prominent and enjoyable writing position where he wrote daily articles, but still, there was this huge need to return to his roots. “I see you’re still with us, Williams. I don’t see boxes full of photographs and awards, so far.
It’s a good sign! ” Maria knew that he had probably already made up his mind to go but still every time she passed his office, her curiosity made her peek inside to make sure he hadn’t made packed up his belongings. He had been her top journalist since day one at the Gazette and the thought of not seeing his smiling face and hearing his enthusiastic voice radiating through the building saddened her, greatly! “I’m seriously torn, Maria. I know I should just make up my mind and give you a definite answer but I can’t.
I’m taking this last week to think it over but one thing’s for sure, if I do decide to move to New Hampshire, you‘ll be the first to know. ” “But, you’ll miss out on the huge Christmas party on Friday. ” Spending time with Alexander at Christmas had been a festive occasion that she had always looked forward to and now she knew she had no other choice but to get used to the idea of him not being there. “Seeing you dressed as Mrs. Claus would be exciting! ” Alexander smiled as he thought about seeing his boss in the red garb that stretched across her arm.
It’s all up to you and I do have several interviews scheduled but I’m still hoping we won’t need to fill your position. I seriously doubt anyone is capable of filling your shoes, anyway. ” Maria had known what an expert writer was all about, the first day he walked into her office and asked for the position. He had a remarkable resume and when she took a look at some of his sample articles, she knew he was her man. He was able to create prize-winning stories out of ordinary events and had made The Charlotte Gazette one of the best-selling newspapers in the country!
For the next week, Alexander had spent every extra second going over his decision. His mother had begged him to come home and his sister and brother told him they had already found him the perfect house where he could retire, happily and grow old without the hassle of rushing to his office and fretting over every little incident that took place in Charlotte. They knew Alexander had spent far too many years away from home and they yearned for him to return to the place where he grew up. On Friday, the entire building was decorated to perfection.
Each red ribbon that draped the office doors were sparkling with glitter and every snowflake that hang from the ceiling reminded him that Christmas was near. The boxes had already been neatly packed in the corner of his office and when Maria saw with her own eyes that there wasn’t even a single photograph, in sight, she realized he had made his final decision. He was going home to his family. He was retiring and giving up something that she knew more than anyone, was the biggest passion in his life. She was going to miss him more than he would ever know. She should have told him about her strong emotions for him but it was too late.
There was no sense in even asking him to stay, again. She could see as he looked into her eyes that he had made his choice. “Need some help with those boxes? ” She tried to say it without him seeing her eyes tearing up but it was hopeless now and she had already shown him how vulnerable she felt about what he was doing. “And, a ride to the airport if you can swing it? Taking cabs are so informal, you know? ” He had dreaded this part of moving more than anything but he did want to spend his last few hours with the woman who he had grown so close to over the years.
The ride to the airport was spent with lots of laughter and as the first snowflakes of winter blew through the city, Alexander not only felt sadness about leaving but he started to feel the joy of the season with each new bluster of white. He hoped he had made the right choice in leaving his writing position at the Gazette but he knew he would always feel a tugging at his heart when he thought about his job there and of course, when he remembered Maria and as they said their last goodbye, the tears in each of their eyes said more than they could ever dare with mere words.
The Christmas party was in full swing and the band hand been playing carols for nearly an hour before Santa finally arrived. Mrs. Claus was sitting comfortably in her chair handing out the first gifts as the lead band member asked for silence in the room. “It isn’t proper for Mrs. Claus to do all the work on such a special occasion! We have a special gentleman do all the grunt work. ” He enlightened them through the microphone. As Santa Claus entered the room, the crowd applauded while he moved closer to the huge stack of presents under the tree and to Mrs. Claus who tried to smile through her sadness.
I have a special gift for Mrs. Claus! ” Santa belted out in laughter, followed by a jolly, “Ho ho ho! ” The beard that covered his face was a wonderful disguise and as she opened the tiny red box and saw the engagement ring that glistened many colors as it reflected the brilliant lights from the tree, Maria was now crying tears of happiness. As she pulled the beard from Santa’s face, Alexander kissed her warmly. “Home is where I do need to be, Maria Carter and spending one day away from you, reminded me that home truly is where your heart is! I want to spend everyday, home with you! ”