in love with henri

Ella meets Henri during summer in December when his family--Ella vaguely knew from church--comes to her home for a New Years party.
No theres no supernatural connection between Henri and Ella and there's no dramatic death to spoil the end for you . . . just two fourteen year olds in love on a cleched Deccember night.
But is Henri really good for her? How could she tell when she's blinded by affection? Oh, it's so annoying . . . .


1. morning of the 25th

Christmas morning.
I'm lying in bed, on top of the sheets in my Rock of Ages nightshirt with my fan blowing into my ear, waffling over whether I should go downstairs to tell Nicola to go back to bed and stop poking through the presents under the fake christmas tree or just lie here and continue smelling the black burning toast smell  that i decided not to scream out about.
All I heard was Nicola clicking her tongue and gasping at name tags.
"Nicola!" I squawked, rocking the bed.
There was no response.
"Go back to bed!"
Still no response.
"Shut up, Ella!" Nicola cooed. "Leave me alone!"
I scoffed, relaxing a little from my tense sausage roll position. My face was burning like a smithy. I had been out at the beach all yesterday with Jennifer, my best friend since second grade, and I was burned worse than an ant beneath a magnifying glass.
A line across my nose was already flaking and it hurt to shower in either hot or cold water.
"Nicola!" I yelled again.
"NO!" Nicola screeched.
"No, I was going to ask a question!"
"What?" Nicola yelled back, gentler but irritated.
"How many are there for me?"
She knew I meant presents.
I was just curious. And also needed a number to decipher whether or not it was worth it getting out of bed for. I was just  . . . tired. I sat up, unwillingly listening for the grouchy response.
"Seven!" Nicola squealed, excited for me.
I eyed my pillow hungrily. "Ugh, seven."
I fell back onto my pillow like a collapsible ladder to the bricks.
"Are you coming down?" Nicola hollered.
"Nahhhhoooo!" I called.
"Whaatt???" Nicola shreiked.
"Noooooo!" I shouted angrily.
Why did Christmas Day have to be the earliest day of the year? I was so tired.
"Shhhhhoooosshhhhh now!" I cautioned through my pillow.


An hour later, I heard Dad thumping around the kitchen and Mum, ten minutes later, emerging from her bedroom.
"Four sugars," I heard Mum mutter, grainily.
"'Kay." Dad answered.
Well if Mum and Dad were up, it was possible we were going to church soon and twenty minutes before we'd open presents. I decided to get up. I had to sooner or later, either willingly or not.
As I staggered down the stairs, Mum smiled in my direction--then halved it as she accepted the mug of coffee from Dad.
"Morning, Ella." Dad greeted, half-heartedly. "Sal, did you remember to call the Fujimoto's?"
"Yes," Mum nodded, not turning her head from my attention.
"Yes?" Dad clarified.
"Yes." Mum now looked at Dad irritably.
I giggled. "Merry. Christmas."
"Merry Christmas," Mum returned.
"Happy Birthday Mum!" Nicola squealed.
Mum cringed. "Yeah, yeah, don't bring it up again."
"What? That you're fifty three today?"
Mum's head snapped up and she glared coldly at Nicola.
"Nicola. Don't."

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