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The Second Day of Christmas
By Ann


Tracey scowled at the cheerful person, ringing the rather annoying bell, as she swept past and rushed through the doors of the courthouse. Once inside, she continued her fast moving pace, brushing by the tallest of the three Christmas trees in the lobby. It wasn't until her motion triggered the switch of the five foot Santa, causing the Jolly Old dummy to belt out a round of Jingle Bells, that Tracey finally voiced her thoughts.

"I fucking hate all these goddamned bells, trees, and loud mouthed Santas who can't sing worth a damn."

The people, waiting for the elevator, stood with their mouths agape, and the resulting shock didn't wear off when the doors slid open or when Tracey stepped inside and waved as she hit the 'close door' button. The ADA leaned against the back wall and closed her eyes, thoroughly enjoying the nice quiet ride to her office's floor; however, her bad mood returned the minute the doors opened, revealing another decorated tree and what appeared to be enough garland to wrap around a football field.

Christmas music greeted Tracey when she moved from the elevator. Squinting, she could just make out the boombox that was partially hidden under the tree.

"Why can't this building just have one tree?" She pulled the plug on the music and stomped down the hall towards the one area she knew she could count on, the one area which looked the same each and every day regardless of the season, her shelter from the reminders of Christmas, her office.

"What the hell is this?" The briefcase fell from Tracey's hand and hit with a loud splat on the tiled floor just outside her office.

Kelly placed her hand over her heart and looked up to find her boss, standing in the doorway with a very Scrooge-like expression. "Oh, Tracey, you startled me; I was just putting the finishing touches on the tree. I wanted to surprise you."

"Oh, you surprised me all right, and now, you can take it down." Tracey snatched her case from the floor and entered, but her steps faltered once again; she hadn't noticed the garland and bows, the dozens and dozens of large red bows.

"Take it down?" Kelly pushed to her feet from her kneeling position. "You're kidding, right? Why would you want to take it down?"

Tracey opened her mouth to release her pent-up anger on Kelly, but something pushed its way past her thoughts and stopped her. Instead, she counted to ten and then blew out a breath to try to calm herself. Crossing the room, she moved behind her desk and placed her hands on its smooth top to try to hide the tremors before she addressed her assistant. She leaned forward and spoke calmly.

"Kelly, this is a law office, not a department store, and as such, I'd like to maintain the proper level of professionalism that our job entails."

Kelly stared at her boss, stunned. She'd expected Tracey to go off on the evils of commercialism and rant and rave about how people foolishly spent their hard earned money on decorations as they tried to outdo each other. At least, that'd been the subject of Tracey's tirades the previous Christmases. Kelly titled her head, ready to question Tracey's state of mind, when she realized what was different about this year.

"You do care." Kelly broke out in a smile.

"What? Weren't you listening? I just told you that I don't believe the tree and the other decorations are appropriate for the office." The hard edge returned to Tracey's voice despite her efforts to keep it away.

Kelly walked over and closed the door before she moved towards Tracey. She stopped her progress when she reached the desk's edge, but only because she couldn't move through matter. "I've been so happy lately; I just got caught up in the Christmas spirit. I wanted to do something special for the office, something special for you. I'd forgotten how much you hated the work decorations."

Tracey suddenly found the top of the desk quite interesting. "Yes, well, all's good then. I'll call someone to take these things away."

A hand moved into Tracey's view and landed on top of her own. Tracey couldn't help but focus on the one difference that was always in the forefront of her thoughts. Where Kelly's hand was smooth, hers was showing signs of age.

Kelly studied her lover carefully and could see the wheels turning fast and furiously. She knew their age difference bothered Tracey, but she constantly tried to assure her.

"Tracey?" Kelly waited for the other woman to look up, but Tracey was mesmerized by their hands. Slowly, Kelly placed her free hand on Tracey's cheek. This time Tracey dared to glance up, and she seemed surprised by how close Kelly was to her.

"Tracey, it's okay that you don't want decorations in the office." Kelly smiled her reassurance.

"I know how much you love Christmas, Kelly; it's just that I really don't get into the whole Christmas spirit." Tracey attempted to move her gaze back to their hands, but Kelly held her face in place. She gently moved her thumb along Tracey's cheek.

"I do love you, Tracey Kibre."

"I love you, too." Tracey's words were spoken softly, almost reverently, just as she always did when she expressed her love.

Kelly leaned in and gently kissed her lover, keeping the contact brief. Even though she'd closed the door, she had forgotten to lock it. She made a mental note not to make that particular mistake again.

Giving Tracey's hand a light squeeze, Kelly stepped away from the desk. "I'll see if Harrison's office wants the decorations." Kelly picked up the empty box and began to place the garland inside.

Still slightly flustered, Tracey nodded and took a seat as she reached for a file. Without looking up, she said, "Just send the garland. We'll keep the tree." Opening the file, she began to read.

Kelly glanced up at the words, only to find Tracey already engrossed in her research. Grinning, she moved her gaze to the brightly lit tree as she stuffed the red bows on top of the garland.

Christmas with Tracey was going to be chockfull of surprises. Kelly couldn't wait.

The End

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