Today’s writing prompt, Underneath the Mistletoe, is the third prompt of the TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS PROMPTS on the Daily Drafts and Dialogues blog this year. Keep reading to see the full prompt and my completed version of it.
Today’s Writing Prompt: Underneath the Mistletoe
Write a scene in which you or another character are caught underneath the mistletoe. Consider: Is this a pleasant encounter underneath the mistletoe? Or an awkward or unpleasant encounter?
Completed Version of Today’s Writing Prompt
A Mixed Bag for Christmas, by K.E. Creighton
Being home for the holidays always means encountering a mixed bag of people— and a mixed bag of emotions. But this year is one for the books.
My divorced parents make it a point to make and host Christmas Eve dinner together, no matter how much they can’t stand each other. Yes, they still hate each other, even after nearly two decades apart. They also make sure to bring their latest dates with them each year. This year my father brought his best friend’s new office assistant, who is around my age. And my mother brought the nighttime security guard from her office, who has a strong jawline and strong shoulders, but not very strong conversation skills.
Before Christmas Eve dinner is served every year, my parents always host a neighborhood cocktail hour, which is how this whole absurd mixed-bag tradition of awkwardness, passive-aggressive compliments, and saccharine merriment even started. When they were originally splitting their assets, they both wanted to keep their neighbor friends, or so they said. They didn’t care where we kids ended up, not really, just how the neighbors perceived them.
Last year was the first year I brought home a date for Christmas Eve— my husband of five years. And I instantly regretted it. As soon as my sister’s husband, who is a major creep, eyeballed my husband, he kept trying to catch me underneath the mistletoe. He mumbled something about family and affection at one point, nauseating me for the rest of the night. So, of course, this year my eyes were stuck to the mistletoe, as I constantly maneuvered around the room, inelegantly, to avoid it and him at all costs. But I had no luck avoiding the power of the mistletoe this year. Instead, I was traumatized in a completely different way.
I was leaving the kitchen, holding a platter with small pieces of cheese shaped like snowflakes, helping arrange appetizers for the cocktail hour, when I saw my parents underneath the mistletoe. They were kissing passionately. No one had arrived yet and they thought no one else was looking. When they finally came up for air, they giggled like a pair of new young lovers.
His little circle of friends had expanded to include some of the so-called BMOCs and BGOCs. Most of the three years of high school, his pursuit of academia had paid off. He even had managed to the PSAT, and qualify for the NMSAT. Now, he was a senior, and even though he allowed his friends to taunt him about his crush on the head cheerleader, since he only needed 4 classes. his job after school allowed him a car and a social life!
Most of the genius group he had befriended earlier in high school had graduated, Now, he was actually helping as a teacher’s assistant in two of the classes, and some of the BMOCs and BGOCs had used his tutoring skills to help them pass. Actually, the only cheerleader he hadn’t tutored was his crush, Missy Moore.
He managed to take his third SAT before Christmas break, and was awaiting the results. It was the final Friday before Christmas break, and none of the teachers had scheduled any midterms. Instead, Christmas parties were set for all four classes. His buddy on the football/basketball team had told him the cheer squad was doing a fundraiser. For $20, the cheerleader of your choice would come to your class with some mistletoe and kiss you in front of the class. Whether on the cheek or lips was left to the cheerleader’s discretion.
He knew his last chance might be today, and he just happened to share his last class with most of the cheer squad, including Missy Moore. He planned to collect his $5 dollar tutoring fee from different people in each class, the last being his buddy. However, at the start of the class, he realized Misty Moore was not in class. His whole plan was shot!
His buddy knew how he felt, and said that Misty had told her friends that she had the flu. For $20, all the cheer squad was going to visit her at home on Christmas and sing carols to her, and everyone chipped in for a Christmas gift. Mandy Simpson was to purchase her gift and bring it over on Christmas. His buddy invited him over for the Christmas caroling, and he accepted. However, he had trouble hiding his disappointment.
He met his buddy and the rest of her friends, 20 in all, at Missy’s house at 6 PM. They had brought a printout of three carols, and he joined in the singing. Missy smiled on the porch as they sang, and thanked them, assuring everyone she was recovered. He was at the back of the group, and could barely see Misty.
Mandy brought the gift up to the porch, and Missy began to cry as she opened the box of a new winter coat, hat and scarf. Hugs for the cheer squad followed, and her mother handed out hot chocolate and cookies. Everyone said Merry Christmas, and began to leave. Missy called out to him, and he stopped just as he was about to drive home.
Missy handed him a card, and inside was his test results. He had qualified for the National Merit Scholarship! He looked at her, completely puzzled. She confessed that her friends in the office at school had intercepted it when his counselor was told, and she had convinced the counselor that this would be the perfect Christmas gift for him.
He hugged Missy, and then realized she was hugging him back! It was a little awkward, but she slipped a clump of mistletoe over her head. He smiled and kissed her for what seemed like all evening. Then, when they parted, she told him that all of the other cheerleaders had said how grateful they were for his tutoring.
He asked why she had never wanted tutoring, and she said “Well, two reasons. Number one, I was both busy and shy. I was afraid you would see through me. Number two, I really didn’t need tutoring.” She showed her a similar letter, and she was a National Merit Scholar winner as well!
He kissed her again, and decided to not let this moment pass. He asked Missy to the prom, and she said yes. He told her he needed to get home for his family’s Christmas Eve dinner, and kissed her goodnight. Missy promised to see him at school after the New Year.
As he drove off, he looked in the rearview, and noticed his buddy come out of hiding and give Missy a high five! He realized he’d been outed, but the way he felt, he decided that it was a great Christmas gift!
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